Cedar Planked Trout w/ Crayfish and Pickled Cucumber

Cedar Planked Trout w/ Crayfish and Pickled Cucumber

The perfect dish for a lazy summer afternoon in the garden, get ahead and make the pickled cucumbers and tartare sauce a few days in advance. Then its just a case of watching the trout get licked with flames as you sip on a super chilled bottle of cider.

Enjoy this cedar planked trout as a light lunch or starter with a healthy amount of charred bread to mop up all the buttery juices from the crayfish.

For this recipe we have used trout from Veasey and Sons fishmongers based in Forest Row, East Sussex. These guys are great and pop up every weekend just outside of the farm shop on Priory Farm. They often get us out of a jam when we need beautifully fresh fish fast and with an exceedingly jolly service to boot. Definitely go and give them a visit!

Serves 4

Planked Trout

1 large cedar plank, soaked in water. Measuring 80 cm x 25 cm (this is just a rough guide you need to make sure its wide enough for your trout fillet and tall enough to give a good clearance over the fire)
6 stainless steel nails
1 x 800g Fillet of trout
1 tsp Fennel seeds
½ tsp Pink peppercorns
Large pinch of Maldon salt
½ a lemon, finely zested
Large handful of fennel fronds or dill

  1. Remove the trout from the fridge at least half an hour before you wish to cook it
  2. Remove the cedar planks from the water and place a layer of fennel or dill fronds on half of the board
  3. Lay the fillet of trout on top of the bed of herbs and nail to the board making sure that the nails are hammered in at an angle to stop the trout from slipping off during cooking
  4. Season the trout with salt, fennel seeds, pink pepper and lemon zest
Throwback to our seasonal supper club at Gooseberry Field Glamping last September, featuring planked trout

Buttered Crayfish and Samphire

20 Whole cooked crayfish or a small tub of pre-prepared tails
50g Butter
150g Samphire or sea aster
½ Red chilli
A good pinch of salt and pepper

  1. If using whole crayfish twist the head and  the tail in opposite directions to seperate. Freeze the heads and save for another day to make bisque.
  2. Remove the shell from the tails by pressing the sides to split the shell all the way down the centre and tease out the tail meat.
  3. Remove the black vein from down the back of the tail and discard
  4. Set aside the tails in the fridge until needed
Pictured above: we source our crayfish direct from the lakes of Priory Farm.

Pickled Cucumber

1 Cucumber
Roughly 2 tbsp salt
450 ml cider vinegar
100 g sugar
100 ml water
1 tsp fennel seeds
A good pinch pink peppercorns

  1. Make the pickle liquor by boiling together the cider vinegar, sugar, water and fennel seeds. Set aside to cool  whilst the cucumber is salting. (This recipe makes more pickle liquor than you will need but you can use it to either pickle more cucumbers or experiment with other vegetables)
  2. Slice, ribbon or cut the cucumbers into batons. Salt liberally and place in a colander set over a bowl to catch the liquid which comes from the cucumber. Allow to salt for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Sterilise a jar by washing in hot soapy water and drying in a low oven or run it through a hot cycle in the dishwasher.
  4. Rinse the cucumbers to remove any salt and pat dry. Place the cucumber into the sterilised jar and cover with the pickle liquor. Sprinkle in the pink peppercorns and a piece of lemon peel.
  5. Allow the cucumbers to pickle for at least 3 days before using
Pickling Workshop, pickling class, learn to pickle, the salt box
Use your left over pickle liquor to make all manor of quick pickles.

Wild Garlic Seed Caper Tartare Sauce

2 tsp wild garlic seed capers / capers
6 cornichons
Zest of ½ a lemon
Small handful of parsley
Small handful of chervil
6 tbsp mayonnaise

  1. Drain the wild garlic seeds or capers and cornichons and place in a bowl
  2. Finely zest the lemon and chop the herbs and add to the bowl along with the mayo and a good twist of black pepper, taste and adjust as needed
  3. Place in a bowl and set aside until needed
Pictured above: Wild garlic seed capers ready for eating after brining and pickling

To Finish

  1. Light a fire in the base of your fire pit and create a healthy bed of coals, gradually feed in more logs to keep the fire going towards the back of the bowl.
  2. Stand the cedar plank against the edge of the fire pit with the bed of coals directly in front of it, prop the plank up with a log at the base to stop it from slipping away from the fire pit.
  3. Keep feeding the fire with logs and rake coals in front of the fish to keep a steady radiant heat.
  4. The trout will take between 30 and 40 minutes. If the heat from the coals is too fierce push some of the coals away, you should be able to hold your hand in front of the trout for around 10 seconds before the heat gets too much.
  5. Check that the trout is cooked by inserting a temperature probe into the thickest part of the fish, you are looking for a reading of 65-70.c as the trout rests the core temperature will raise by another 5-10.c so its always best to slightly undercook and rest the fish well.
  6. As the trout rest you can cook your crayfish. Build the fire back up and place a trivet on top followed by a skillet. Add butter to the skillet followed by the samphire, red chilli, seasoning and then the crayfish. Toss in the pan to reheat the crayfish and wilt the samphire.
  7. Remove the nails from the trout and slather with the crayfish butter. Drain and pile up the pickled cucumber next to the trout and fill a pretty bowl with the garlic seed caper tartare. Lay the finished plank down the centre of the table with toasted soda bread to mop up all the buttery juices.
Pictured above: Nettle soda bread, a super quick bake which will help to mop up all the buttery goodness!

Whilst the trout rests cook the crayfish in fiercely hot skillet

Place the finished plank of trout straight on the table to share with friends and family