Enjoy the real chefs’ specials
Smokehouse hailed as top cooks reveal secret ingredients
THE methods are slow, traditional and very, very smoky but they have secured a Scots food firm a prestigious Golden Fork.
Staff at Inverawe Smokehouse are celebrating after their smoked trout was hailed at the Great Taste Awards, the food industry’s Oscars.
It was the only product from north of the Border to be placed in the top 50 ingredients of 2017, while the Argyll smokehouse took home the award for Scottish Producer of the Year.
Managing director Patrick Campbell- Preston said: “My father first started smoking our trout using traditional methods in 1982. It remains our signature product.”
The Taynuilt business was launched with just one smokebox after Patrick’s dad, trout farm owner Robert, realised smoking his fish would be a good investment.
Today, it’s one of the biggest mail order smokehouses in Scotland, with a global customer base stretching from Peru to Singapore.
Patrick believes its success is down to the time-honoured method of “slow- cooking” smoking.
While the average mass producer smokes a fish for six hours, Inverawe Smokehouse likes to take things a little more slowly.
Patrick said: “It’s a fair bet we smoke our fish for longer than anywhere else in the world.
“We use whole logs of windblown Scottish oak, rather than chips or sawdust in our old-style brick smokehouses.
“Using logs gives a gentle, creamy smoke but it takes time for that to penetrate the fish so we can smoke them for up to 72 hours.
“It’s totally reliant on the trained smoker to know when it’s ready.
“No fish comes out at the same time.”
This method is what gives the trout its rich, deep, fullbodied flavour.
To ensure the finest fare, the company uses sustainable trout farmed along the west coast of Scotland.
While most of us automatically reach for smoked salmon in the supermarket, Patrick argues trout deserves equal recognition.
He added: “Trout is a very understated fish that I’ve found really catches the attention of the chefs.
“When I put our smoked salmon and trout on the same plate, 60% will go back to the trout because they are blown away by the taste.
“Many people associate trout with bigger portions and mainly these are from land- locked trout but seagrown trout has a completely different depth and most amazing flavour.”
Other Scottish ingredients to receive a three- star rating at the Great Taste Awards include Tayberry & Sage Vinegar by The Little Herb Farm in St Andrews and Green Pepper Venison Salami from Great Glen Charcuterie in Roy Bridge, Inverness-shire.
Here, The Sunday Post speaks to some of Scotland’s leading chefs to discover the essential ingredient in their kitchen cupboard.
■ Jak O’Donnell with a jar of Egyptian spice Dukkah in her restaurant last week.