I had a simply inspiring and delectable brunch this past Sunday at one of my favorite restaurants in Chicago, The Publican. I can’t stop thinking about the gold flatware, the food and the experience! I am a huge brunch fan but then again who isn’t? (Actually, I once dated a guy who didn’t like to go out for brunch! That lasted long…) But seriously, there are these dishes that I eat and I just can’t stop thinking about them. I just obsess over it for days and then I either have to go back to the restaurant and eat it again or in this case I have to re-create it in my own kitchen. Seriously, you don’t want to be that weird girl that goes to the same restaurant everyday and orders the same exact thing. Make it in your own home with some privacy.
Back to my brunch obsession from The Publican. I had the Smoked Whitefish Rillette which was dressed with crème fraîche, celery, dill and capers served with toast. It was simple but melt-in-your-mouth delicious.
Traditionally, a rillette refers to a method of preservation, typically with pork, where the meat is heavily salted and then slowly cooked in its own fat. Once cooked, the meat is shredded and then reserved in the same fat to form a paste. What’s not to like, pork mixed with pork fat? I’m not sure if The Publican cooks their smoked whitefish in any fat but whatever they’re doing it’s working. I am clearly still obsessing about it. I literally just drooled on my keyboard.
What makes this Smoked Trout Rillette special is the smoked trout itself which comes from Rushing Waters Fisheries located in Palmyra, Wisconsin, just two short hours north of Chicago. At Rushing Waters Fisheries they raise sustainably farmed rainbow trout in natural spring ponds. In addition, the fish is smoked on-premise using northern hardwoods which gives it that distinct smoky flavor. Since I start this dish with such an amazing product there are only a few ingredients that need to be used to complement the fish.
Similarly to The Publican, I added crème fraîche with the addition of mascarpone which adds creaminess and richness. The essential flavor of dill is present and I also added shallots and a lot (and I mean a lot) of lemon zest for brightness and to cut the oiliness of the fish.
This Smoked Trout Rillette is perfect smeared on toast on a Sunday morning. It’s also great as an appetizer served with some crackers (especially useful since the holidays are coming). You could also spread it on an English muffin and top with a poached egg. Mmm…runny yolk. Either way you cut it, or should I say schmear it (haha that’s so bad), this rillette will consume your thoughts and your belly.
- 1 pound Rushing Waters Fisheries smoked trout, flaked
- ½ cup crème fraîche
- ¼ cup mascarpone
- 2 tbsp finely minced shallots
- 1 tbsp chopped dill
- 1 tbsp lemon zest
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- Combine crème fraîche, mascarpone, minced shallots, dill, lemon zest and lemon juice.
- Add the flaked smoked trout and mix gently to combine.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Place in the refrigerator and allow the flavors to meld for at least 20 minutes.