I’m going to come right out and say that these smoked rainbow trout tacos are my favorite fish taco. Maybe even my favorite taco ever (carnitas are hard competition). And they only take 30 minutes to make.
The trout is marinated in a sweet, tamari sauce, lightly smoked, and then topped with a lemony ginger cream. Serve with avo, sautéed red cabbage, radish, and cilantro. Kissing fingers like the very much not Italian that I am. Muah!
They will serve as a good distraction if you’re trying to fly by Friday without too many ugly cries.
*unrelated side note: did you listen to the new The xx album yet?
If not, here’s a little taste.
The marinated trout stands out in the taco. It is not covered up by an overly bold baja sauce or muddled by a thick beer batter. The smoke adds some serious umami to this already succulent variety of fish. It can be missed, but I don’t recommend it.
I made these using my stovetop smoker, but you can make them without a smoker.
You can make my favorite, smoked rainbow trout tacos. In only 30 minutes.
We often eat rainbow trout because it is a fish up there with salmon in the omega-3’s department but more sustainable and affordable. We buy from this local fishery in the Blue Mountains of Ontario that some friends have sold me on.
Also, it is SO delicious.
I have talked to a lot of experienced home cooks who are afraid of fish. You don’t have to be afraid anymore. I will show you how easy it is.
Let’s do this smoked rainbow trout tacos thing
Let the fish chill out for 1-2 hours in the tamari, maple syrup, and garlic marinade. If you don’t have a smoker, you will also be adding some liquid smoke which you can find in any regular grocery store, usually by the barbecue sauce.
Use either a well seasoned, large cast-iron-skillet or a large non-stick sauté pan. Add 1 tablespoon of high smoke point oil (such as grape seed, canola, or refined/pure olive oil). Heat your pan on medium high heat. When the oil is glossy and moves quickly in the pan when you swirl it around, your pan is ready. It should make a loud sizzle when the fish hits the pan.
If you are using a smoker, sear only the flesh side of the fish. Not the skin. You only want to get some color here before it goes in the smoker. Cook until the flesh is golden brown. About 1-2 minutes.
If you are not using a smoker, put the fish in the pan skin side down. You will be doing all the cooking in the pan. Allow to cook until the skin is crispy, about 4-5 minutes. Flip the fish over and cook for about another 4 minutes or until the flesh is golden and the middle is just ever so slightly pink. The fish will carry-over-cook once you take it out of the pan. You don’t want tough over cooked trout.
All smokers are different so please follow the instructions of your specific smoker. I chose to use alderwood to smoke my fish but I have tried hickory with this recipe too. Still excellent.
Put your fish in the smoker skin side down. Brush on reserved marinade and top with lemon slices. Allow to smoke to 13 minutes.
That’s it! You just made delicious, smokey trout. Now you just have to throw together the sexy accoutrements.
- Cabbage: I often toss raw cabbage with some lime juice to top my tacos. This time, I decided to sauté it to give it more sweetness. In the same pan you seared your fish, sautee cabbage in a tsp of oil. Make sure you season well with salt and pepper.
- Tortillas: While the cabbage is cooking I will throw my tortillas on my empty burners on medium heat for about a minute or two depending on the kind of burner you have. Flip over halfway. You just want to soften the tortillas and maybe give the slightest bit of char.
- Ginger cream: There is a lot of ginger in this to add the same kind of heat of a mildly spicy pepper. Toss all the ingredients together and taste to adjust. You want this to be bright and flavorful. Add more lemon for tartness, grated ginger for heat, honey for sweetness and salt to bring all the flavors out a little more. Keep in the fridge until serving.
- Avocado, radish, and cilantro: Slice up your toppings and have them ready for assembly.
Put ’em together
You did it! You made smoked rainbow trout tacos. Woohoo! Now just load up your ingredients and go to town.
I like to put the cabbage on the bottom followed by the fish. Then I just pile all the other things on in a way that is a little pretty and a little I-don’t-care-because-they-will-be-in-my-mouth-so-fast.
Because, they are my FAVORITE!
How are you feeling? Do you feel confident? Do you think you can do this? Is there anything that still seems scary or confusing? Leave me a comment and let me know.
Otherwise, may your New Year be filled with lots and lots of smoked rainbow trout tacos!!
Looking for more, easy recipes that are fun and won’t put you to sleep? Try these:
When you make these amazing smoked rainbow trout tacos, let me know! Rate the recipe and share your thoughts and questions in the comments below. Use the hashtag #popkitchen and tag me @pop_kitch when you post photos of recipes you’ve made to your Instagram. I’ll share my favorite photos on Pop Kitchen’s account.
- 1 Trout filet, about ⅔ lb/0.3 kg
- ½ lemon, sliced (if smoking)
- 2 Tbsp tamari (or soy sauce if not GF)
- 1 Tbsp maple syrup or honey
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tsp olive oil
- not using smoker option* 1 tsp liquid smoke
- ½ cup plain yogurt
- 2 Tbsp grated ginger
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ½ tsp lemon zest
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- ½ tsp honey
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- 3 cups red cabbage, finely sliced
- 2 tsps high smoke point oil, canola, grapeseed, refined olive oil
- 1 avocado, sliced
- 4 radishes, julienned
- CORN tortillas
- Put on that The xx album I was talking about. These tacos will taste better if you move your hips a little bit.
- Marinate: mix the marinade ingredients together and place them in resealable plastic bag along with the trout. Let marinate 1-2 hours. Reserve marinade when it's done to brush over fish while cooking.
- Sear: In a large cast iron skillet or non-stick sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon high smoke point oil on medium heat until, shiny and moves quickly around the pan. If smoking your fish, place the fish in the pan flesh side down and cook until just golden, 2 minutes. If not using a smoker, place fish in the pan skin side down. Let the skin get nice and crispy, about 4-5 minutes. Brush the flesh with reserved marinade. Flip and cook other side until golden brown and fish is almost completely cooked through, another 4 minutes.
- (optional) Smoke: place seared fish in the smoker skin side down. Brush reserved marinade over fish and place lemon slices on top. Once your smoker is just starting to show puffs of smoke, cover and cook for 13 minutes.
- Sauté cabbage: In the same pan you seared the fish, sauté cabbage with 2 teaspoons oil. Season well with salt and pepper. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes.
- Cook tortillas: over the free burners on your stove, cook your corn tortillas over medium-low heat. Watch closely! Every stove is different. You'll need to test out how long each side will need to just be soft and cooked. Place tortillas in tin foil in a low oven (170 F) to keep warm until serving.
- Ginger cream: combine all the ingredients for the ginger cream. Taste and adjust flavor. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Toppings: Slice your avocado, julienne your radishes and break off your cilantro leaves and have them neat and ready to top your tacos.
- Serve: Place a small amount of cabbage on the base of the tortilla, followed by fish and then cream and toppings. TAKE A PICTURE AND SEND IT TO ME ON INSTAGRAM!