Earlier this year, The Caterer and the Norwegian Seafood Council set out to educate the industry about the versatility of Norwegian fjord trout with the help of top chefs from the UK and Norway. Lisa Jenkins reports on the results
The deep red-orange colour of Norwegian fjord trout has to be seen to be believed. This is a world away from the pallid pink that you might see in your local supermarket and it speaks volumes about its provenance.
Combine those deep hues with strong, white marbling and it's clear you have a product that is luxurious in both feel and taste.
It's unsurprising, really, when you start to learn more about where the fish has come from and the way in which it has been reared. Learning more was exactly the objective of two events held by The Caterer
The event at Bird of Smithfield saw Bird team up with four other fjord trout enthusiasts - Fredrik Hald, product development manager at Norwegian seafood exporter LerÁ¸y; Adam Smith, head chef of the Burlington restaurant at the Devonshire Arms in Bolton Abbey in North Yorkshire; and Laurence Tottingham, co-owner and head chef at Aumbry restaurant in Manchester - to create a collection of recipes using the Norwegian produce with some exciting results.
The second masterclass, this time concentrating on the versatility and properties of fjord trout, took place at the Billingsgate Seafood School in London with chef demonstrations and talks from CJ Jackson, the school's chief executive, and José Souto, senior lecturer at London's Westminster Kingsway College.
Spawned and raised in Norwegian fjords, with one hatchery in the shade of the magnificent Folgefonna glacier, the meat of the fjord trout has a healthy sheen and is firm, tender and smooth. The fish has a round shape and mainly stores fat in the abdomen, making it easier to cut away.
The fish also cooks well and is less susceptible to fillet gaping - the opening of the layers - because it has a denser and firmer meat structure than other red fish.
Unlike freshwater trout, fjord trout does not contain geosmin, which leaves a distinctive earthy flavour. The fish is best prepared on a low temperature and is ideal for raw, marinated and lightly cooked dishes, such as tapas, sushi, sashimi, ceviche or tartar.
Fjord trout sashimi by Fredrik Hald
Fjord trout is farmed in Norway, which has become one of the world's leading aquaculture nations, due to a combination of strict health and environmental regulations and continuous work to develop the industry. The fjord trout must be slaughtered in compliance with the regulations: the fish must be bled immediately after being stunned and satisfactorily bled before further processing. Gutting must be conducted carefully to avoid damaging the muscle around the abdominal cavity, and there must be no remains of entrails in the fish, which should be thoroughly washed after slaughtering.
At Billingsgate, Souto talked about the traceability of the ingredient and how the Norwegian farming method is managed to ensure a consistent product using controlled feeding, weather and water-current systems. The nets are 50 metres across and 40 metres deep and there no antibiotics are used. The fish are constantly monitored while underwater, with cameras able to see every part of the pen and detect the sea temperature.
The Norwegian Seafood Council believes that "the best seafood in the world comes from Norway" and, in order to broadcast this message to the rest of the world, it promotes Norwegian trout.
Jack-Robert MÁ¸ller, the UK director for the Norwegian Seafood Council, supports the NSC's marketing activities in more than 150 importing countries.
With a head office in TromsÁ¸ in northern Norway, the organisation focuses on three main areas: joint marketing, market information, and communication and reputational risk management. NSC is financed by the Norwegian Seafood industry through fees levied on all exports of Norwegian seafood.
NSC has established marketing groups for each of the most important seafood sectors: Norwegian salmon and Norwegian fjord trout; ground fish (cod, saithe, haddock, etc); prawns and shellfish; conventional products (salted fish, clip fish and stock fish) and pelagic products (herring, mackerel and capelin).
Fjord trout beetroot and vodka gravadlax by José Souto
Fjord trout characteristics
- Species: Oncorhynchus Mykiss.
- Sea farmed.
- Deep red-orange colour with white marbling.
- The colour of the flesh mainly lies between 29 and 32 on the DSM SalmoFanâ¢, which indicates that it has a stronger redness than most salmon.
- The pigment in red fish is produced by astaxanthin, a carotenoid that both exists naturally in the fish as well as being supplied through the feed.
- The skin of the fjord trout has a lustrous and silvery colour.
- It contains healthy essential nutrients: omega-3, vitamin D, vitamin B12, vitamin A, iodine and antioxidants.
- Fjord trout is generally a bit smaller than salmon.
- It differs from the European river and dam trout in size, colour and flavour.
Gallery - what the chefs created
Event 1: Bird of Smithfield
L to R: Fredrik Hald, Alan Bird, Laurence Tottingham, Adam Smith
Fredrik Hald, who was born and lives in Bergen, Norway, is an author, Norway's chef of the year 2001, college lecturer, member of the Norwegian Hospitality Association (NHO Reiseliv) and an expert with the Norwegian Seafood Export Council for over 10 years.
He was the perfect opening chef at Bird of Smithfield and presented three fjord trout dishes, including sashimi slices, smoked fjord trout with caplin, salmon, chives and crème fraiche on rye bread, and fjord trout with soya mayonnaise, red onions, pepper and watercress.
Fjord trout with soya mayonnaise, red onions, pepper and watercress
Alan Bird prepared home-cured and oak-smoked fjord trout with beetroot salad and potted fjord trout with watercress salad and granary toast.
Roux scholar Adam Smith delighted guests with smoked fjord trout and beetroot macaroons with trout roe, miso-cured fjord trout with dill crème fraÁ®che and crab and torched fjord trout with quail egg and seaweed butter.
Potted fjord trout with watercress salad and granary toast
Laurence Tottingham completed the tasting day with his version of a Scotch egg created with smoked fjord trout, kedgeree spice, quails' eggs and wild rice crumb (see recipe on page 48), and a Norwegian-inspired dill-cured fjord trout, pickled cucumber, rye and traditional Geitost cheese dish.
Event 2: Billingsgate - the UK home of Seafood
José Souto's dishes were devised to show off the pure flavours of fjord trout and consisted of a Norwegian fjord trout tartare with sweet pickled cucumber (see recipe below), a lightly cold-smoked top fillet of fjord trout and fjord trout beetroot and vodka gravadlax.
C J Jackson
Fjord trout en papillote with samphire, wild garlic, caper and tarragon butter
CJ Jackson took a different tactic and opted for some less formal dishes, including fjord trout en papillote with samphire, wild garlic, caper and tarragon butter; a hot-smoked Applewood fjord trout with avocado and coriander salsa verde; and, her pièce de résistance - a whole roast fjord trout with dulse.
Norwegian fjord trout tartare with sweet pickled cucumber
Serves 6 as a starter
- 1 cucumber
- 100ml white wine vinegar
- 25g sugar
- 1 star anise
- 1 side Norwegian fjord trout, de-scaled
- 1dsp dill, chopped
- 1dsp flatleaf parsley, chopped
- 20g fine capers
- Â½ large banana shallot, finely chopped
- 20g small cocktail gherkins, finely chopped
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Maldon salt and black pepper
- Keta caviar
- A selection of micro herbs
- Aged balsamic or balsamic glaze
Peel the cucumber, deseed and cut into small dice. Bring the vinegar, sugar and star anise to the boil and then chill. Once chilled, add the cucumber and leave to infuse for one hour.
Dice the fjord trout into very small cubes and place in a bowl. Refrigerate.
Mix the dill, parsley, capers, shallot and gherkins and refrigerate.
Combine the diced fjord trout with the herb and gherkin mixture. Add the lemon juice, season and mix well before forming in rings for plating up or quenelle for a canapé.
Garnish with the caviar, micro herbs and balsamic glaze.
By José Souto, senior lecturer at London's Westminster Kingsway College
Kedgeree-spiced smoked Norwegian fjord trout, soft-boiled quails' eggs and wild rice crumb
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
- 500g Norwegian sea trout
- Â¼ bunch of chopped dill
- 7g smoke powder
- 60g salt
- 40g sugar
- 2tbs pomace oil
For the kedgeree base
- 250g banana shallot, brunoise
- 15g fresh ginger, peeled and grated
- 15ml sunflower or similar oil
- 2g curry powder
- 2g fenugreek
- 1g turmeric
To deep-fry and serve
- 200g wild rice
- 1 pack of 6 quails' eggs
- 50g panko breadcrumbs
- Egg wash
- Plain flour
- Soy sauce Freshburst pearls
First, cure the trout by mixing together the dill, smoke powder, salt and sugar. Cover the trout with the cure and leave for eight hours or more depending on the thickness. Then wash the trout under cold water for up to 10 minutes and vacuum-pack in pomace oil for at least two hours to allow the flavour to mellow.
To make the kedgeree base, sweat the shallots and the ginger in a little oil, add the curry powder, fenugreek and turmeric, and gently cook for two to three minutes.
For the crumb, toast the rice, wait until it has cooled and then blitz in a liquidiser or Thermomix. Pass it through a fine chinois.
Cook the quail eggs by bringing a pan of water to a rapid boil, add the eggs and then put on a lid to keep the water boiling. Time them for two minutes and 15 seconds, then plunge the eggs into ice water. Peel the eggs carefully and keep to one side.
To assemble, skin the trout and clean off any blood line. Keep six thin slices to one side.
Place the rest of the sea trout into a Robot Coupe or Thermomix with 2tbsp of the kedgeree base. Pulse the mix to break it up, but keep a little texture.
Wrap the mix around each quail egg, pane and coat twice in the mix of wild rice and panko breadcrumbs.
Deep-fry and serve cut in half. Garnish with a trout rosette and soy sauce pearls.
By Laurence Tottingham, co-owner and head chef at Aumbry, Manchester