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david cooks dinner, gather food studio, personal chef, colorado springs

Some Fishtory about Trout, in case anyone asks.

Most trout live in cold, freshwater lakes and rivers. Most of them. However, there are species of trout that live in the ocean for a couple years and then return back to fresh water to spawn. Trout also belong to the same fish family as salmon and char.

Trout are native to the northern hemisphere, but have been introduced all over the world. The diet of the trout varies from insects to crustaceans - but the more crustaceans the trout eats, the better it tastes.

Smoked Trout Duo -

This recipe is for a smoked trout mousse in a profiterole, and smoked trout filet with carrot tops dressed in a calvados vinaigrette.  To start - the trout must be smoked.  For the mousse, I break the trout up into pieces, and for the salad, I keep the trout filets whole.  This is a fantastic recipe for a springtime brunch or a quick lunch on the patio!

Cure Mix for Smoking:

• bayleaf – .25 oz

• fennel seed – .25 oz

• juniper berries – .25 oz

• white peppercorn – 1/8 oz

• black peppercorn – 1/8 oz

• star anise – .25 oz

• celery seed – .25 oz

• sugar – 1 #

• kosher salt – 1 #

Profiterole Dough:

1 cup milk

1/4 pound unsalted butter

Pinch salt

1 cup all-purpose flour

4 large eggs

For the Trout Mousse:

• 8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature

• 1# smoked trout (cured with mix – recipe follows), flaked slightly

• 1 T. finely chopped shallot

• 1 T. finely chopped parsley

• 1 T. finely chopped chives

• ½ T. fresh ground pepper

• 2 tsp. salt

Calvados Pecan Vinaigrette:

• ½ shallot

• ½ sweet red apple

• 1 T. dijon

• 1 tsp lemon zest

• 1 tsp ginger

• 1 tsp coriander seed

• 1 tsp salt

• ½ tsp pepper

• 2 T. calvados

• ¼ C. raw apple cider vinegar

• ¾ C. vegetable oil

• Scant ¼ c. pecans

• (sugar to taste)


Carrot Tops, as needed

Use whole spices for this mixture. Grind all the seed spices (minus the salt and sugar) in a coffee/spice grinder until fine. Mix very thoroughly and completely with the salt and sugar. This cure mix does make quite a bit, but will last a long time, and is also good for other meats/fish/poultry.

The method that I used for the trout was, I washed my trout filets gently under cold water and patted them dry with paper towels. Next I set them on cooling racks in a pyrex dish (or a high walled baking sheet) and liberally applied the cure mix, but didn’t rub it in – and let it sit in the refrigerator over night. The next day, I wash the washed the cure mix off and pat it dry again with paper towels and then smoke it in a 200 degree smoker for 45 minutes with peach wood chips.

Preheat oven to 425. In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, butter and salt and bring to a heavy scald (180 degrees). Then the liquid is scaled, stir in gently with a wooden spoon the flour until a dough forms. Reduce heat and cook on medium for 2-3 minutes stirring often. Transfer mixture to a mixer now and add the eggs on med. High one by one until they are all incorporated. Continue mixing until the dough “window panes” (will demonstrate). At this point, transfer to a pastry bag and pipe out small balls on a parchment lined pastry sheet. Bake for 40 minutes or until the profiteroles are hollow, and cooked through – holding their shape.

Remove from oven and cool at room temperature until use.

 Bring the cream cheese to room temperature. Using your mixer with the flat paddle attachment, whip the cream cheese until it is smooth around medium – medium high (7ish/out of 10) and a little bit of air has incorporated into it, scraping the sides down periodically, 2-3 minutes. Next add the trout and whip into the cream cheese for 30-45 seconds. Finally add the shallots, parsley, chive, salt and ground pepper. Adjust the salt and pepper at the very end to check for final seasoning. Refrigerate until use. Lasts for 3 days in the fridge – best when made and allowed to sit overnight. This same recipe will work with just about any kind of smoked fish… smoked salmon especially!

Combine all the ingredients down to the vinegar in a blender and puree until smooth. When smooth, drizzle in the vegetable oil in very slowly while the blender is still running, to ensure a full emulsification. When all of the oil is incorporated, add the pecans and pulse gently so the pecans are broken up but not pureed. Add a touch of sugar 1 tsp at a time if your tastes would prefer. Best when sits overnight before use.  Dress the carrot tops with the vinaigrette and serve atop of the smoked trout filets.

Pecan Crusted Trout with Citrus Meuniere -

Meuniere - a classic French brown butter sauce with lemon and parsley.  I'm enhancing this already fantastic sauce with capers and citrus juice and zest.  Yum, Yum, and More Yum!

• 1 ½ # trout filets

• 4 eggs

• 1 C. panko

• 1 C. pecans

• ½ lemon zest

• 1 T. chopped tarragon

• Oil (mixed 1:1 with butter)


• 1 # butter, clarified (not a full pound of clarified butter)

• 3.5 oz capers

• I lemon, juiced and zested

• 1 lime, juiced and zested

• 1 orange, zested, and half of the juice

• 2 T. parsley

• Fresh ground pepper

1.Crack eggs into a bowl Season with salt and pepper and whisk well. In another bowl, add the panko, pecans, lemon zest and chopped tarragon. Season with salt and pepper and mix well.

2. Dip the trout filets into the egg mixture and then into the panko pecan mixture. Repeat with remaining filets.

3. Heat the oil and the butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. When hot, add the trout filets in batches (so not to overcrowd the pan) and cook for about 3 minutes to a nice golden brown. Remove from pan and place on a racked baking sheet – repeat with remaining filets.

4. Bake in a 400 degree until cooked 4-6 minutes.

For the Citrus Meuniere:

Brown the clarified in a pan on the stove over medium heat. When the butter is golden and smoky, remove from heat and add the capers, lemon juice and zest, lime juice and zest, orange juice and zest, parsley and black pepper. Check for seasoning, but the capers should provide enough salt to season the sauce. Serve over the trout.

Pan Seared Trout with Artichokes, Green Olives, Sultanas, and Ajvar -

GesundHeit! No, I didn't sneeze while I was typing... Ajvar is a delicious Balkan condiment made from pureed roasted red peppers and  eggplant.  Not only does this make a fantastic sauce, but it also is delicious with vegetables or crackers, or pita, or - just about anything!

• 1 ½# trout filets

• Salt and Pepper

• Oil/butter 1:1 ratio (2 T. each, divided)


• 3 T. olive oil

• 1 shallot, sliced

• 5 garlic cloves, smashed

• 1 can artichoke hearts, drained and halved

• ½ C. castelvaltrano olives

• ¼ C. sultanas

• ¼ C. white wine

• ½ lemon, zested

• 2 T. parsley, chopped

• 1 T. butter


• 3 roasted red peppers

• 1 small eggplant, roasted – pulp removed (8 oz of pulp)

• 2 T. green onions, chopped

• 2 T. olive oil

• 4 cloves garlic, smashed

• 1 T. sumac

• Juice of ½ lemon

• 1-2 T. red wine vinegar

• ½ T. sugar

• Salt and pepper

1. Season the trout with salt and pepper.

2. In a large saute pan, add 1 T. butter and 1 T. oil over medium high heat. When hot, sear the trout in 2 batches – add the other 1 T. butter and 1 T. oil between batches – and make sure it is hot before adding the remaining trout. When the trout have a beautiful sear, flip over and cook on the skin side until crispy and the fish is cooked through – remove onto a rack lined sheet tray and return the pan to the stove.

3. Add the 3 T. olive oil over high heat. When the oil is smoking, gently place the artichokes in and caramelize them. Then add the olives and sultanas – saute for 2 minutes.

4. Deglaze the pan with the white wine, and reduce the alcohol out. Turn off heat and add the lemon zest, parsley and 1 T. butter. Place the trout and out the sauce over. Serve with Ajvar.

For the Ajvar:

Combine all ingredients in a blender and process until desired consistency. Check for seasoning.