Smoked Trout with Fermented Glaze, Cucumber, Sake Lees Cream and Tapioca


  • 1 3-pound trout
  • Brine, recipe follows
  • Glaze, recipe follows
  • 1 head fennel, sliced
  • 1 large leek, white part only, sliced
  • 1/4 cup dried, smoked shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 star anise
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seed
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 arbol chili
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/8 cup dried seaweed, such as wakami or hijiki
  • 2 cups tapioca pearls, cooked
  • 1 English cucumber, sliced into thin rounds
  • 1/2 cup mint and dill, picked
  • Sake lees cream, recipe follows
  • Fish cracklings, as needed, recipe follows


Butcher trout into skinless fillets; reserve scraps. Brine trout for 20 minutes; open-air dry overnight.

Brush trout with glaze and smoke, about 40 minutes, until barely cooked through. Smoke bones and fish scrap alongside. Chill trout; portion fillets into 3 ounces each; reserve.

Make stock with fish scraps, fennel, leek, mushrooms, star anise, fennel seeds, black pepper and chili. Add seaweed and steep 10 minutes. Strain, chili and reserve broth.

To plate, brush fillets with glaze, and torch lightly. Place fillet in a serving bowl with tapioca, cucumbers and herbs. Add broth, sake lees cream and fish cracklings. Makes 8 servings.

To make brine: Bring 2 quarts water, ½ cup kosher salt and ¼ cup sugar to boil, stir and cool.

To make trout glaze: Combine 2 cups mixed fermented juices (ramp, kohlrabi, onion, etc.), ¾ cup miso, ½ cup brown sugar and ¼ cup verjus in a pot over medium heat until heated through.

To make sake lees cream: Blend 1 cup soy milk and ¼ cup sake lees together until smooth. Season with salt and rice wine vinegar to taste.

To make fish skin cracklings: Cook skin in salted water until tender. Dehydrate or fry at 375 F.  

Chef Jason Fox, Commonwealth Restaurant, San Francisco, CA, from Food Fanatics Magazine