Tokaji-Cured Lake Trout and Mozzarella-Potato Pancakes

About two years ago, I posted a recipe for vodka-cured lake trout. Since I once again find myself with a profusion of trout — this time from Lake Ontario — I wanted to try a different kind of alcohol cure. (Incidentally, it’s quite interesting to compare the bright orange color of the Ontario fish to the pale pink-beige shade of the trout from Keuka Lake.)

Unlike the vodka cure, Hungarian Tokaji wine brings some subtle fruity notes to the fish. I’m not using just any Tokaji table wine, but an Aszú 4 puttonyos to get the right amount of sugar. However, I highly doubt that anyone would taste the result and exclaim, “Wow, this trout really tastes like Tokaji!” So to make this more than a gimmick, I serve it with small cubes of Tokaji jelly — and wow, these cubes really taste like Tokaji!

Eastern European Cuisine - Tokaji-Cured Lake Trout and Mozzarella-Potato Pancakes

To get the full effect, be sure to eat the trout on a pancake with cream and some Tokaji jelly. I got the inspiration for my mozzarella-potato pancakes from a recipe by Frédéric Bolis, executive chef at Vertige des Savers, as published in Culinaire Saisonnier.

Tokaji-cured lake trout
Yields about 8 servings

6 oz canola oil
6 oz Tokaji Aszú 4 puttonyos
1.4 oz sugar
1.7 oz salt
1.5 lb cleaned lake trout fillet(s)

  • Place the oil, Tokaji, sugar, and salt in a blender, and process until homogeneous. Pour half of this marinade into a rectangular dish large enough to contain the fish.
  • Remove the bones from the trout with tweezers, then place the fillet(s) into the dish. Pour the rest of the marinade — the fish should be completely covered. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 48 hours.
  • Take the fish out of the marinade, pat dry with paper towels, then wrap in plastic film and refrigerate form another 24 hours. This extra resting time helps to distribute the flavor of the marinade.
  • To serve, cut crosswise into thin slices.

Eastern European Cuisine - Tokaji-Cured Lake Trout and Mozzarella-Potato PancakesTokaj jelly
Yields over 16 servings

7 oz Tokaji Aszú 4 puttonyos
0.25 oz powdered pectin
5 oz sugar
1 tsp lemon juice

  • In a small saucepan, bring the Tokaji to a bare simmer, and transfer to a blender.
  • While mixing on low speed, pour in the pectin and blend until homogeneous.
  • Return to the saucepan over high heat, and bring to a rolling boil, stirring constantly. Add the sugar progressively, bring back to a boil, and boil for 1 minute. Stir in the lemon juice, and remove from the heat.
  • Pass through a chinois into a 4″ x 8″ dish lined with plastic wrap. Skim any impurities from the surface with a spoon. Cover with more plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
  • To serve, cut into small dice and garnish the plates.

Mozzarella-potato pancakes
Yields about 8 pancakes

12 oz peeled Yukon Gold potatoes
salt
black pepper, ground
4 oz crème fraîche
3 oz flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 egg
about 5 oz fresh buffalo mozzarella
butter

  • Cook the potatoes in salted boiling water until done. Drain well, then rice into a bowl.
  • Season with black pepper, mix in the crème fraîche using a spatula, then sift in the flour and baking powder, and mix again. Beat the egg, and fold into the batter. Let rest for 30 minutes.
  • Slice the mozzarella, and drain on paper towels for 15 minutes. Then break into pieces of approximately 0.4 oz each.
  • Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Melt a small piece of butter, then ladle in some batter. Slightly hollow out the center, and add a 0.4 oz piece of mozzarella. Cook until brown on both sides, transfer to a plate, and top with another small piece of butter. Repeat until you run out of batter.
  • Serve warm. If necessary, you can reheat the pancakes, wrapped in foil, in a 350 F oven for a couple minutes.

Eastern European Cuisine - Tokaji-Cured Lake Trout and Mozzarella-Potato Pancakes