In my last post with the giveaway for “Clodagh’s Kitchen Diaries,” I mentioned that for my culinary school menu project that was due last month I had created a menu for a St. Patrick’s Day dinner party. My family emigrated from Ireland on both sides, but long enough ago that there’s no culinary heritage that has been passed down to my generation, unless you count a fondness for potatoes and pork products. My goal was to explore the tastes and dishes usually associated with this country and to create an alterna-dinner party for this holiday: one that does not revolve around Corned Beef and Cabbage, which is not the Irish national dish.
Fortunately, I have many friends who were willing to come over during the recent showing of Downton Abbey‘s third season here in the U.S. to sample my recipe experiments so that I could get my project done. This is an appetizer that I created that seemed to be a huge hit with everyone. Hearty, nutty Irish Brown Bread is a staple in many household kitchens. Here, it is served with a smoky, creamy trout pâté, a nod to the resources of Ireland’s rivers, with a bite from the heat of the horseradish and lift of freshness from the lemon zest and the parsley. It’s the perfect nibble to go with a glass of good cheer!
Smoked Trout-Horseradish Pâté on Irish Brown Bread
Prep Time: 1 1/2 hours, including baking time for bread
Serving Size: Makes approximately 24 portions (3 pieces per person for 8 people)
For the Irish Brown Bread:
(Recipe adapted from http://kissmyspatula.com/2010/03/17/irish-brown-bread/)
1 3/4 cups Whole Wheat Flour, preferably stone ground (the coarser, the better – I used Bob’s Red Mill)
1 1/4 teaspoons Kosher Salt
1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
2 tablespoons cold Unsalted Butter, cut into small cubes
1/4 cup Old Fashioned Oats, finely ground
3/4 cup Buttermilk
For the Smoked Trout-Horseradish Pâté:
4 ounces Cream Cheese, softened
2 Tablespoons Crème Fraîche
4 teaspoons prepared Horseradish
2 teaspoons Fresh Parsley, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/8 teaspoon Black Pepper, freshly ground
Grated zest of one Lemon
1/4-1/3 pound Smoked Trout
Irish Brown Bread:
To make the Irish Brown Bread, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter bottom and sides of a mini loaf pan (5 1/2 x 3 inches). Mix together the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a bowl. Add the butter into the flour mixture by using a fork or a pastry cutter until the mixture resembles small pebbles, and the butter is blended in thoroughly. Add the ground oatmeal and toss to combine completely. Stir in the buttermilk. The mixture will be sticky but all the dry ingredients should come together.
Turn dough out onto a lightly-floured surface and knead it several times. Shape dough into a small loaf and place in the loaf pan. Bake bread for about 30 minutes, until knife inserted in the center of the bread comes out cleanly. Cool on a wire rack. (The bread can be made a day ahead, but should be toasted the day it is being served.)
About 30 minutes prior to serving the appetizers, preheat the oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut the loaf of bread into 12 slices. Then, cut those slices in half diagonally to make triangle-shaped pieces. Place bread triangles on an ungreased baking sheet on parchment paper and put them in the oven to toast. Do not allow the bread to take on any color. When the first side is lightly toasted, turn over and toast the second side. Remove toasted bread triangles from the oven when done and allow them to cool while making the Smoked Trout-Horseradish Pâté.
Smoked Trout-Horseradish Pâté:
To make the Smoked Trout-Horseradish Pâté, mix together the cream cheese, crème fraîche, and prepared horseradish until smooth with no lumps of cream cheese. Fold in parsley, salt, pepper, and lemon zest. Hold back about 1/2 teaspoon of lemon zest and 1/2 teaspoon of parsley for garnish.
Break the smoked trout into pieces, some large and some smaller. Go through the trout to make sure that there are no bones. Gently fold in the smoked trout. There should still be some small and large pieces of fish visible in the mixture. This is a rough, chunky spread rather than a smooth one.
Place toasted bread pieces on a serving platter. Top each triangle with a spoonful of the smoked trout mixture. Sprinkle each piece with a little bit of chopped parsley and the reserved lemon zest. Serve immediately.