smoked trout, dill mayonaise; potato and cucumber salads


We’ve been collecting a few rieslings over the last months, but hadn’t had entrées suitable for this special wine. This past week I decided it was time, so I thought of putting together a simple meal of trout accompanied by a couple of more-or-less-Germanic vegetables.

I was aiming for fresh whole trout, but this past Wednesday, the only day on which Dave Harris and his Max Creek Hatchery are in Union Square, there was, literally, a run on the market. Blue Moon, the other fish seller who would normally have also been there that day, had to cancel because Hermine had been hanging around, stirring up the waters off eastern Long Island, making it too dangerous for a boat to go out the day before.

Dave mostly doesn’t have to think about hurricanes or cyclones (he’s located very much inland, far west of Albany). He and his truck were there all set up, but not surprisingly, the fresh trout went fast. He told me he hadn’t known that he would be the only game in town that day, or he would have brought more stock down from the north. When I got there, a little past noon, there were no more fresh trout, but he still had some of the smoked, and that’s what I built that night’s meal around.

The model was pretty German, but the elements were almost entirely local. This time ‘local’ included the wine as well. The Treleaven dry riesling wasn’t just a New York state wine, but one I had purchased only a mile away, in the Union Square Greenmarket, from which almost everything else in this meal was assembled.

  • three quarters of a pound of a single smoked trout from Max Creek Hatchery, skinned, boned, divided, one side placed on each of 2 plates, served with a mix of a really good prepared mayonaise, Sir Kensington’s, plain, Classic Mayonnaise (made by ex-Brown students, with headquarters in SoHo), lemon zest and lemon juice, and chopped fresh dill from Willow Wisp Farm
  • the potato salad was about as simple as I could imagine preparing, using 12 ounces of small red new potatoes from Norwich Meadows Farm, boiled, thinly-sliced (skins left on), mixed, while still warm, with a couple tablespoons of good red wine (Chianti) vinegar into which a generous pinch of sugar had first been stirred and diluted, followed by 2 thinly-sliced small red pearl onions from Paffenroth Farms, the mix seasoned with salt and pepper, cooled to room temperature, finished with a little olive oil, chopped parsley, and lovage, both from Keith’s Farm
  • the cucumber salad was also pretty plain, by my normal standards, including no onion, only thinly-sliced cucumbers from Norwich Meadows Farm, salt, white wine (Langhe) vinegar (Cesare Giaccone aceto di vino bianco), water, sugar, a little chopped garlic, and dried cumin seed (in lieu of the dill seed I didn’t have), chilled for more than an hour
  • fourteen of ‘The Best Cherry Tomatoes‘ from Stokes Farm, rolled in a little good Campania olive oil, Malson salt, and freshly-ground pepper, sprinkled with a bit of torn basil
  • the wine was a New York (Cayuga Lake) white, Treleaven Dry Riesling 2013, from King Ferry Winery, via the winemakers’ stall in the Union Square Greenmarket
  • the music was German, Johann Friedrich Fasch, Orchestral Works, Vol. 1