Episode 011 - Jonathan O'Callaghan & Trout Lox with Latkes

Photo by Chris DePaul

Photo by Chris DePaul

Chef and musician Jonathan O'Callaghan eats trout lox with latkes and talks about bro culture in restaurants, life in a popular hardcore band, and how Instagram has changed food.


Recipe: Trout Lox with Latkes and Roasted Fennel Cream Cheese

Serves: 3 to 4
Active time: 1.5 hours
Total Time: 48 hours

Trout Lox

1 large fillet of trout, skin on (~ 1 lb)
1 orange, zested
1 lemon, zested
3 tbsp kosher salt
2 tbsp sugar
1 small bunch parsley, finely chopped
2 tbsp horseradish (optional)

Mix orange zest, lemon zest, salt, sugar, parsley, and horseradish if you like horseradish. Cover every last inch of the curing mixture all over the trout. Lay trout skin side down on a large piece of saran wrap, wrap tightly, and double wrap again in another piece of saran wrap. Place on a rimmed cookie sheet or casserole dish and place in the bottom of your fridge. Place something heavy on top of the wrapped trout to ensure the cure is in direct contact with the fish (I used a small cast iron pan, you could use a bricks or stones). There will be a briny water that gets released from the trout as the cure does its magic, and you will need that deeper cookie sheet to catch excess moisture from the cure. After 24 hours, drain this excess moisture from the cookie sheet. After 48 hours it is safe to eat.

Once ready to eat, use some water to rinse off the curing mixture from the trout and pat dry with paper towels. Slice on an angle to get nice, large slices from the fillet.

Roasted Fennel Cream Cheese

1 head of fennel, chopped, fronds removed and set aside for garnish
2 tbsp olive oil or butter
1 cup goat cheese
¾ cup greek yogurt

Preheat pan to medium, add oil or butter to the pan, and sauté chopped fennel on medium heat for ~20 minutes, stirring frequently, adding water if fennel is getting too brown while cooking. Once very tender, blend with goat cheese and greek yogurt until smooth.


Note: This is optional! I love using crushed bagel chips for this dish instead.

3 medium russet potatoes, grated
1 medium white onion, grated
2 tbsp corn starch
1 egg
3 tbsp butter or oil

Grate potatoes and onions and place on a large section of cheesecloth. Bring up the edges of the cheesecloth so the potatoes and onions form a big ball and wring out as much moisture as possible. The drier the better. Once dried, transfer to a bowl and add 1 egg, corn starch, and S+P. Preheat pan to medium high heat, add butter or oil, and use a large spoon to portion latke mixture. Flatten out latkes while they’re in the pan so they cook quickly and evenly. Cook for around 3 minutes a side or until golden brown, and once done set aside and season with salt and pepper immediately.

Quick Pickled Shallots

2 large shallots, sliced thinly
2 cups vinegar (white vinegar or apple cider vinegar)
1 cup water
1 tbsp salt
3 tbsp sugar

Get vinegar up to a simmer in a small pot. Add salt and sugar and stir to combine. Add thinly sliced shallots, remove from heat and allow it to come up to room temperature. You can then throw it in the fridge and they will be good for a few days in the fridge.

Final Plating

Smear roasted fennel cream cheese on the bottom of the plate. Add sliced trout lox, crushed bagel chips or sliced pieces of latke, pickled shallots, fennel fronds, sliced radishes, and toasted sesame seeds as potential garnishes.

Quick Christie Questions

What's the best regular place you visit in Toronto?
High Park

What's your favourite restaurant?
Touhenboku (It was Yours Truly and The Grove before they closed)

About Back of the House

Back of the House is a comedy and food podcast in Toronto. Host Mike Christie invites comics and entertainers over for a meal that has special significance in the guest's life and they discuss food, comedy, urbanism, and whatever's irking them in the moment. Remember, this is water and some are lakes.