Not every idea that comes out of Alex and Aki, the couple behind the blog and book, both called Ideas in Food is cutting edge. They are both as well versed with traditional cooking techniques and dishes as they are with the ultramodern. Their idea for the first course of our Friday night dinner was just such a tradition based idea - a brandade, but instead of using salt cod, they would use smoked trout. I must admit, this was not an idea that I found initially appealing when Alex first proposed it, but I've learned to trust his judgement and skill. I'm glad I did. As with any dish, the quality of the ingredients is important. Here the key element was the smoked trout itself. Purchased that afternoon at Oscar's Smoke House in Warrensburg, N.Y., it was of pristine quality.
The first step was breaking up the fish. Aki did that, reserving the skin and the head.
The skin and head was used to infuse a quarter pound of melted Cabot 83% butter.
The next step was cooking the potatoes (yellow potatoes bought that day at Kilpatrick Family Farm) along with the peeled garlic cloves. My son, Michael peeled the garlic. The potatoes and garlic were boiled in water in a standard fashion. Once cooked they were riced together in a warm pan and mixed with the trout, the trout=skin infused butter, cream and some minced parsley.
The end result was magic. I may not have found the idea all that appealing, but the actuality was wonderful - silky smooth potatoes, moist, smoky meat and sheer pleasure.