Hot-Smoked Trout with Pickled Cipollini Onions

Hot-Smoked Trout with Pickled Cipollini Onions

All three onion components in this impressive recipe can be made ahead of time, making it a perfect dish to entertain with.


  • 7 ounces fresh cipollini onions, peeled, thinly sliced crosswise, and separated into rings (about 1 1/4 cups)
  • 1 small (2-ounce) red beet, peeled and quartered
  • 1 star anise
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced (about 3 cups)
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons water, divided, plus more as needed
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion (about 1 small onion)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine
  • 1/4 cup ruby port
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup applewood chips, soaked in water for 30 minutes
  • Olive oil
  • 4 (3-ounce) skin-on trout fillets, patted dry
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Flaky sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives
  • Pickled Cipollini Onions


  1. Combine onion rings, beet, and star anise in a medium bowl. Bring vinegar, 3 tablespoons water, sugar, and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan over high. Reduce heat to low, and simmer until sugar is dissolved, about 2 minutes. Pour hot pickling liquid over onion mixture. Place a small plate on onions to submerge, and let cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Transfer to an airtight container; cover and refrigerate until onions are pickled, at least 6 hours or up to 12 hours. Discard beet and star anise. Keep chilled until ready to use.
  2. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-low. Add onion, and cook, stirring often, until softened and translucent, 15 to 20 minutes. If onion begins to brown, stir in 1 tablespoon water. (Add more water, 1 teaspoon at a time, as needed.) Add vinegar, and cook, stirring occasionally, until almost evaporated and flavors meld, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in salt and pepper. Transfer onion mixture to a blender; add 2 tablespoons water, and process until smooth and thick, about 1 minute and 30 seconds. Add remaining 1 tablespoon water, if needed, to reach a smooth, thick consistency. Transfer onion puree to a bowl; cover and keep warm at room temperature until ready to use, or refrigerate up to 2 days.
  3. Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium-low. Add onion, and cook, stirring often, until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup water, vinegar, wine, and port. Bring to a simmer over medium; simmer, undisturbed, until flavors meld and mixture reduces to 1/3 cup, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in lemon juice and salt. Season with pepper to taste. Set aside.
  4. Drain wood chips, and spread evenly on an aluminum foil–lined roasting pan. Lightly grease a wire rack with oil, and set over wood chips. Sprinkle trout evenly with kosher salt; place trout, skin side up, on rack. Place roasting pan on stovetop burners over high until chips begin to smoke, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low; cover pan with several layers of foil, and seal very tightly to keep smoke inside pan. Cook, undisturbed, 8 minutes. Turn off heat, and let trout stand in sealed smoky pan, about 5 minutes. Remove trout from pan; gently pull off and discard skin.
  5. To serve, spread onion puree and onion marmalade on individual plates, and top with trout fillets. Drizzle each serving with extra-virgin olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and chives, and garnish with pickled cipollini onions.

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