Florida’s Little Black Dress

Thursday, June 25th, 2015


Smoked fish dip is the little black dress of dinner parties in South Florida…” -Wendy Donahue, The Chicago Tribune

To be honest, it took me time to understand and appreciate Smoked “Fish” Dip. When I came across them, early in my career, I wrote them off as dated and cliche. In my defense, the few I had been exposed to were not great, big chunks of red onion, bland, just plain boring. My moment of clarity came from experiencing the dish done well in the hands of a talented Chef. Vinny Dotolo is a famed California Chef, by way of Florida. He is a partner in Animal, Son of a Gun, and Trois Mec. One night in Oxford Mississippi, as so many magical food stories begin thanks to the SFA, I ate smoked gulf mullet dip with hushpuppies. The stars and the heavens aligned! Delicious…Amazing!

This experience, combined with my ever growing love of the mystical and  sometimes southern state known as Florida has led me to create my own version. Feel free to try this recipe with various types of smoked fish. Watch your seasoning, various types of smoked fish will have equally varied salt content. Note that the recipe below does not call for salt because the fish I use is very well seasoned. Whip up this recipe the next time you find yourself invited to a Floridian house party

Smoked Trout Dip

Yeilds 4 Servings

6 oz smoked trout
1 medium shallot, finely minced
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp minced scallion
½ tsp minced dill
½ tsp lemon zest
4 tbsp mayonnaise
2 tbsp sour cream
½ tsp lemon juice

Heat olive oil in small sauté pan over med-low heat. Add in shallot and garlic. Sweat down for 2- 3 minuets being careful not to brown. Set aside. In a mixing bowl add your trout, gently breaking it apart with your hands. Add in scallion, dill, lemon zest, mayonnaise, sour cream, and lemon juice. Add in your shallot and garlic. Using a mixer with a paddle attachment, beat for 20-30 seconds on low until fully incorporated. Alternatively, vigorously mix with a spoon for same results. Enjoy with crackers, toasted bread, or hushpuppies… and a cold beer.