Fishing opener and warm spring days always have me itching to fry stuff. Whether it be a great shore lunch after a successful day or digging through the freezer to use up last year’s catch, fried food speaks a universal language of indulgence.
One of my favorite fried foods is the fritter. The base for this recipe includes flour, cornmeal, eggs, and milk—ingredients that are usually taking up space in the pantry and fridge. The batter acts as a blank canvas, which gives you the option to play with flavors and spices. I happen to live close to some sweet trout streams, so after a successful trip, I knew smoked trout fritters were my future.
I’m also a huge fan of pickled jalapeños. I keep multiple cans in the pantry. The addition of the jalapeños adds a sharp bite and the lemon zest adds a nice citrus tone that pairs well with the smoked fish. I enjoy serving the fritters with a tangy homemade tartar sauce because, for me, most store-bought tartar misses the mark.
Time to make
12 ounces smoked trout, flaked in small chunks
1 cup sweet corn (canned or fresh-cooked)
1/2 cup pickled jalapeño peppers, chopped
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup milk
2 tbsp. lard or fat, melted
1 lemon, zested
½ cup parsley, chopped
1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 ¼ cup cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tsp. Kosher salt
1 tsp. black pepper
Canola oil for frying
1/2 cup Kosher salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 lemon, zested
1 tbsp. dill
1 cup mayonnaise
1 lemon, juiced
1 tsp. mustard
¼ cup onion, finely diced
1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
¼ cup dill pickle, diced
2 tsp. capers, drained and chopped (optional)
¼ cup fresh Italian parsley and dill, chopped (or 1 tsp. dry each)
½ tsp. black pepper
Also works with
Salmon or any other smoked or lightly cooked fish
Dutch oven or fryer, fry or candy thermometer
- Clean your trout and butterfly or fillet them. Pat dry and sprinkle them inside and out with the Kosher salt, brown sugar, lemon zest, and dill. Cover with parchment paper and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours. When you’re ready, place them in a smoker at 250 degrees for 90 minutes or until they are lightly smoked. This can be completed well in advance of making the actual meal.
- Combine all of the tartar sauce ingredients in a plastic container and mix well. Cover the sauce and place it in the refrigerator to allow the flavors to combine.
- Set the smoked trout aside. Combine all of the dry fritter ingredients into a large bowl and stir until evenly mixed. Combine all of the wet fritter ingredients into a separate large bowl and stir until its evenly mixed. Gently mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until the fritter batter just comes together. The batter will be a little wet. Gently mix in the smoked fish. The fritter batter can be made well ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator, but for best results, go straight to the fryer.
- Fill a Dutch oven or large metal pot with two inches of canola or vegetable oil. The depth of the oil will allow the fritters to just float so you can rotate them to ensure an even fry. Using a fry or candy thermometer, bring the oil up to 350 degrees.
- Once the oil is ready, use two large spoons to shape the fritters into a balls and carefully lay six fritters into the oil. It’s essential to maintain the temperature of the oil while frying, so do your best to keep the oil between 325 and 350 degrees. Maintaining the proper temperature will ensure that the fritters fry evenly. Remove the fritters after five minutes or evenly browned and place them on a rack for 1-2 minutes so excess oil can drip away. Repeat with the remaining fritter batter.
- Eat ‘em while they’re hot for best results! Serve the fritters with the tartar sauce, extra fresh dill, and lemon wedges.