It’s been said before. It’s awfully true … Food is memories.
When I was growing up, many a Friday in the winter meant one thing to me. Roooooad trip! We’d get out of school at 2:30 pm. By 3:00 pm, the car was packed and we were heading north. Skis and snowboards on the roof. Duffel bags squished into every nook and cranny (usually a friend or two in tow). On the way up, we would stop at this little gas station that sold the best locally smoked fish. We typically stocked up on salmon, whitefish, and trout for the weekend. I still remember the smell of the fish smoking in the parking lot. I’ll never forget the laughter and excitement in the car as we reached our final destination.
I haven’t actually returned to that northern Michigan gas station in years. However, I’ve found a famous local gem which “brings me back.” Calumet Fisheries, located on the calumet river – south side of Chicago, hot smokes their fish on site using special oak logs. This place deserves a visit if you live in the Chicago area. Check it out. I made a trip last weekend and stocked up on some of my favorites. Smoked trout, salmon, and shrimp. This fabulous smoked trout salad was a result of said trip.
Almost comically easy to prepare – mix together mayonnaise, sour cream, chives, dill, lemon juice, salt and freshly cracked black pepper in a medium bowl. Add in the smoked trout, shallot, and celery, stir to combine and serve one of 2 ways:
- Loaded high on top of an open face bagel topped with fresh dill and thinly sliced cucumber
- Served as a dip along side homemade everything bagel chips and veggies
A new regular in my meal rotation. Delicious morning, noon or night. Thanks, Mom and Dad, for introducing smoked fish into my diet at a young age. Food is, indeed, memories. In this case, they’re both great.
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/2 tbsp fresh chives, finely chopped
- 1/2 tbsp fresh dill, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 lb smoked trout, skin and bones removed, flaked (I yielded 1 3/4 cups flaked fish)
- 2 small shallots (about 1/4 cup), finely chopped
- 1 celery stalk (about 1/4 cup), finely chopped
- Combine mayonnaise, sour cream, chives, dill, lemon juice, salt and freshly cracked black pepper in a medium bowl. Mix well.
- Add trout, shallot, and celery. Stir to combine.
- Serve on a toasted bagel with thinly sliced cucumbers and fresh dill or with homemade everything bagel chips (recipe below) and cucumber coins.
- To make homemade everything bagel chips – thinly slice a bagel into 6 slices, spray both sides with olive oil spray and season with salt. Bake at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes, rotating the baking sheet half way through. Allow to completely cool and store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week. Worth the effort, trust me.
Makes about 2 1/2 cups