In order to be able to control both the cooking of our trout and its size I decided to create a smoke brine in which to impart seasoning and flavor before the final butchering and cooking of the fish. The brine consists of water, 2.5% salt and 5% smoked maple syrup. We brine the trout for two hours, then we bond it with Activa and compress it in a batterra sushi mold. Once the trout is set, we cut individual squares which we may then cook to order. We have found that cooking the fish for twenty minutes at 48 degrees Celsius works ideally for our smoke infused trout. The fish is firm while retaining a delicate flake and a moist texture.
While the trout part of our recent dish came together relatively easily, the accompaniments and composition took a fair amount of trial and error. The dish we have now assembled combines a rhubarb hoisin sauce with the smoke brined trout and a rhubarb and jalapeno relish. We finished the dish with a few leaves of compressed lamb's quarters. The final arrangement eats well, although as we reflect further in retrospect, the next version will feature crisp lamb's quarters instead of the compressed leaves pictured.