Make Ahead

Smoked Trout Paté

November 27, 2010
7 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Serves many as an hors d'Oeuvre
Author Notes

I read in Food & Wine that chef April Bloomfield made a trout pate at the John Dory in NY. The article gave no recipe, just said that the pate is made with crème fraîche and cottage cheese. That sounded up my alley, with cottage cheese instead of mayo and...I'm a sucker for crème fraîche. After several attempts, I came up with a version that seems very popular at all our large parties. - healthierkitchen —healthierkitchen

Test Kitchen Notes

WHO: Healthierkitchen is a retired attorney and an avid home cook.
WHAT: A quick and dirty party app that tastes like it took much longer to make.
HOW: Just mix, stir, garnish, and eat while holding a cocktail in the other hand.
WHY WE LOVE IT: This appetizer has enough smokiness to keep guests going back for more, but not so much that they're exhausted before they get to the other spreads on the table. And, it's a host's dream -- it only requires a quick stir before it's ready to serve —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 1/2 pound smoked trout fillet
  • 2/3 cup 2% cottage cheese
  • 2 tablespoons crème fraîche, heaping
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
  • 1/2 teaspoon prepared white horseradish, drained
  • 1 pinch salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Remove the skin from the fish and discard. Crumble or flake the fish into a bowl using two forks (one in each hand moving away from each other in the bowl) or your hands if you prefer. If the top of your fillet has a hard crust from the smoking process, you can pick out the larger, hard bits if you prefer. I like to leave in most, as they have the smoky flavor, but I try to make sure to break them down.
  2. Add cottage cheese and crème fraîche and mix well with a spoon. If the mixture seems dry, add another dollop of cottage cheese. I like a smooth consistency so using the back of the spoon, I "smooth out" some of the cottage cheese curds against the side of the bowl.
  3. Sprinkle a pinch of salt (if your fish isn't particularly salty), a couple of grinds of pepper and the horseradish and mix well.
  4. Add the chives, reserving a pinch for a garnish. Mix gently.
  5. Put into serving bowl and sprinkle the remaining chives on top. If not serving right away, refrigerate, but take it out about 1/2 hour before serving so it can come to room temperature which will make spreading easier. Serve with thin slices of baguette or crispy toast crackers.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • hotsauce
  • chezjenne
  • Sarah
  • Maddie A.
    Maddie A.
  • ingefaer

53 Reviews

jencordes January 1, 2023
I’m not leaving a star rating because I subbed ricotta for the cottage cheese. I needed to use it and didn’t want to waste it. I realize this might make a big difference in the overall result but I found this a little bland. I ended up doubling the horseradish after tasting it but it didn’t help very much.
hotsauce June 11, 2022
This is one of the favorite recipes in our household. My partner always does a little happy dance every time I make it, and when I bring to it a gathering he walks around harassing everyone to try it. I often double the horseradish, and in a pinch, will sometimes sub sour cream or greek yogurt for the creme fraiche.
chezjenne February 23, 2021
this is SOOO GOOD! I had it over a lightly dressed lemon vinegarette salad with sliced beets and croutons. I like the sweet (fig jam sounds FANTASTIC) beets with the smoky fish spread. I added smoked trout to the grocery list - I'm dying to make it and take it to a friend who will LUV it for sure.
Sarah December 24, 2016
I totally love this recipe, but I've found that putting it in the Cuisinart for a quick blitz is the best way to get rid of the cottage cheese curds, which can be a bit unappealing.
Maddie A. January 1, 2015
What would you recommend to replace the cottage cheese?
Maddie A. January 2, 2015
No issues with dairy! I just am not a fan of the taste (odd, I know).
Doro W. January 29, 2020
Perhaps ricotta? Or cream cheese thinned with a little low-fat milk?
Ian B. August 28, 2014
Is this ok to make a few days ahead of a large party?
healthierkitchen October 7, 2014
I wouldn't make it more than 2 days or so ahead. While creme fraiche seems to last a long time in the fridge, I find that cottage cheese doesn't taste as fresh for too long. Sorry I'm just seeing this now!
danielle April 25, 2014
What are some other fish substitutions I can use if i don't prefer a strong smoky fish?
danielle April 25, 2014
What are some other fish substitutions I can use if i don't prefer a strong smoky fish?
healthierkitchen June 11, 2014
The creaminess of the creme fraiche and cottage cheese are a good counterpoint to the smokiness so for this recipe, at least, I'd stick with a smoked fish. Hot smoked salmon or whitefish would be good too. The dish as a whole is not too strong, but maybe those other fish would be milder? It's possible that it's the smoking that you'd prefer milder, rather than the fish? I just found a local smokery that I've been using for my trout lately and though the package has a very strong smoky smell, the trout itself is pretty mild. I've never tried it, but it's possible this would be tasty too, with a piece of poached fish, but I just don't know.
Doro W. January 29, 2020
What about salmon? Even canned salmon (but not boneless and skinless) is very flavorful.
svbooker January 5, 2014
Looks delicious! Has anyone tried it with full-fat cottage cheese? And the fig jam - spread it on the toast first?
healthierkitchen January 5, 2014
I'm sure full fat cottage cheese would work fine, I just don't use it because the creme fraich is quite rich so I find I don't need full fat cottage cheese. As for the fig jam, maybe Randi will advise! I've never added that but it sounds like an interesting counterpoint. Maybe taste it first on one toast before doing the others? Or serve it on the side?
savorthis January 6, 2014
We always put a small dollop of the jam on top, but I know there are people who don't like sweet with meat (of any sort) so a jar on the side would also be a good idea.
ingefaer January 1, 2014
This is a quick and delicious Appetizer. I added some lemon juice and a bit more Creme fraise than called for.
healthierkitchen January 1, 2014
It is so adaptable for taste! It is pretty mild so the lemon juice must have picked things up a bit! Thanks.
Randi December 29, 2013
I made this for our Feast of the Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve. It was a hit with all, young and old. Served with apple slices, gluten free crackers, and fig jam. We finished the little bit that was leftover with Christmas morning poached eggs and biscuits. Delicious. Thank you!
healthierkitchen January 1, 2014
I love the fig jam idea! thanks for your kind comment Randi!
QueenSashy December 26, 2013
Made it yesterday for a very late Christmas dinner, it was a one big yum! What a wonderful dish!
healthierkitchen December 26, 2013
so glad you liked it!!
gingerroot December 25, 2013
Served this today for Christmas brunch and it was fabulous! Thanks for a great recipe, hk
gingerroot December 25, 2013
Whoops, sent too soon - wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday season!!
healthierkitchen December 26, 2013
Thanks gingerroot! And Happy new year to you and your family!
gingerroot December 29, 2014
Served this again for our Christmas brunch gathering and it disappeared quickly! I love this recipe!! Happy New Year, Wendy!!
Midge December 23, 2013
Made this yesterday and my only regret is that I didn't double it. Big hit! Thanks for a keeper hk and congrats!
healthierkitchen December 23, 2013
Thanks so much, Midge, for saying! The beauty of it is that it's so easy to make!
savorthis December 19, 2013
Hey congrats! Smoked trout is almost always on our party hors d'oeuvre list (it's great with fig jam too!) especially since we can get local trout so cheaply. I love the idea of fluffing it up with the cottage cheese...good luck!
healthierkitchen December 20, 2013
I love it too! When Mrs. Wheelbarrow's book comes out I am hoping to learn to smoke my own and get really creative!
QueenSashy December 19, 2013
I love love love trout, creme fraiche and the fact that there is no mayo in this dish! I will be making it for the holidays. Best of luck!!!
healthierkitchen December 19, 2013
Thanks Queen! Enjoy and happy holidays! guess we both read Food & Wine!
fiveandspice December 19, 2013
Yum, this looks great! Congrats on being a finalist! I love that both finalist dishes were inspired by Food & Wine!
healthierkitchen December 19, 2013
Thanks Emily! I've been finding that since Gourmet's demise, Food & Wine has really become one of my favorite print food reads!
TheWimpyVegetarian December 19, 2013
This looks great! And so, so easy. I love the addition of the cottage cheese!! Congrats and best of luck!
healthierkitchen December 19, 2013
Thanks so much! It's funny how the cottage cheese works.
Katheryn's K. December 19, 2013
Congratulations Healthier Kitchen, very yummy looking recipe, will definitely try it, Happy Holidays!
healthierkitchen December 19, 2013
Thanks Katheryn! Happy holidays to you too! Bon appetit!
gingerroot December 19, 2013
Yay! Congrats hk!! This looks fantastic and I love that it comes together in a snap. Can't wait to try it. Happy Holidays!!
healthierkitchen December 19, 2013
Thanks so much gingerroot! It is easy and lots of bang for your small investment of time!