Chef Derek Bendig of the Fairmont Chateau Whistler demonstrates how to make homemade spaghetti with beeswax-cured steelhead trout, one of the featured dishes at this year’s Cornucopia festival.
For the trout
- 1 fillet of steelhead, skin and pin bones removed
- 1 cup kosher salt
- 2 cups turbinado sugar
- 1 lb. beeswaxMethod
For The Pasta
- 1 ¾ cups 00 flour
- 6 large egg yolks
- 1 large egg
- 1 ½ tsp olive oil
- 1 Tbsp. whole milk
For the smoked trout crumble
- 450g steelhead trout fillet, pin bones and skin removed
- 1.5 L dashi
- 25g salt
- 25g sugar
- Soy sauce
- 3 Tbsp. finely chopped chives
- 6 tsp trout caviar
- 2 Tbsp. bee pollen
- 6 Tbsp. butter
For the steelhead
- Combine salt and sugar, cover both sides of the fillet with salt/sugar mixture in a non-reactive dish. Cover and let cure 8-16 hours depending on the thickness of the trout. Remove salt and rinse well. Pat dry with kitchen towels and place on a cooling rack in the fridge overnight to remove all excess moisture from the surface.
- Place beeswax over a double boiler and slowly heat until the wax liquefies (65C, it is important to use gentle heat as heating the wax above 80C will diminish its aromatic properties).
- While beeswax is melting, place the fillet in the freezer to super chill the fish, this will prevent the wax from cooking and sticking to the flesh. Once the wax is melted coat the fillet by ladling wax over top, allowing the excess to drip into the pan below the cooling rack. The wax will solidify almost instantly, gently turn the fillet over and repeat on the other side, being careful not to crack the wax (if it does crack, you can go back and fill in the cracks with more melted wax).
- Place in the fridge and age for 1 week. After 1 week you can carefully remove the wax and the fish is ready to serve.
For the pasta
- Make a mound with the flour on a large cutting board or counter, make a well in the center.
- In a small bowl whisk together the egg yolks, egg, milk and olive oil. Pour this into the flour well. With a fork gently stir the flour into the liquid, when this has been mostly absorbed continue kneading the dough by hand for approx. 10 minutes or until the dough is uniform and elastic.
- Wrap with cling film and place in the refrigerator to hydrate for 30 minutes. Pass through the rollers of a pasta machine as per the manufacturer’s specifications.
- When the desired thickness is reached you can cut the noodles with an attachment or with a knife to the desired thickness. Be sure the cut pasta is well floured to prevent it from sticking together.
- Hang and air dry for 15 minutes, this will ensure a better texture when cooked.
For the smoked trout crumble
- In a small bowl combine the salt and sugar. Coat the fish liberally and let sit for two hours, pat dry.
- Heat Dashi to 78C, add fish and cook until fish is cooked through (approx.. 8 minutes), remove fish from water and pat dry. Break the fish into prune sized pieces.
- In a thick bottomed rondeau, heat a few drops of soy sauce and mirin over med heat, add the fish and start stirring with a balloon whisk, continue stirring until the fish becomes “a dry crumble.” About an hour or so.
- Lay the trout out on parchment and give a cold smoke for about 30 minutes.
- Slice the trout into thin slices and using a large round cutter on parchment paper, lay the slices to form a circle. Repeat this to form three circles. Using a sharp knife slice each circle through the center (cutting through the parchment paper. Using the parchment place the half circle offset in the center of the plate.
- In boiling salted water cook the spaghetti until desired tenderness is reached. While the pasta is cooking, in a sauté pan melt the butter with three Tablespoons of finely diced cured trout,1 tsp of the bee pollen, chives, and 5oz of the pasta cooking water and bring to a hard boil reducing the liquid and creating the butter sauce.
- Remove pasta from the water and place in the sauté pan, continue cooking over high heat, constantly tossing the pasta to coat with the sauce. Remove from the heat.
- Using long tweezers twirl some of the noodles to the length of the trout circle, place beside the trout on the plate (cut side). Repeat with all the plates.
- Spoon over excess sauce equally between each dish. Garnish with trout caviar, chopped chives, bee pollen and the smoked trout crumble. Serve immediately.