North Carolina-Style Smoked Trout Dip

Smoked trout dip

With due respect to beloved Western North Carolina dishes like kilt lettuce (lettuce cooked with vinegar and bacon) and livermush (a coarse scrapple variant made from pork liver and cornmeal), the most common dish you’ll find in Asheville is trout. Since 1948, Sunburst Farms has raised sustainable trout in the streams of the Pisgah National Forest. Its fish are ubiquitous throughout the city, most commonly found in dips and spreads.

This recipe is flexible: Swap chives for scallions or minced red onion, mascarpone for cream cheese, or Greek yogurt for sour cream. You can also add a dash of horseradish or Tabasco for zip. Just use a light hand, as the locals like the trout to shine.

  • 1 whole boneless smoked trout (about 8 ounces) or 5 ounces boneless smoked trout fillets
  • ½ cup cream cheese
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons chives
  • 1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Fresh-ground black pepper, to taste

If using whole trout, remove head and skin. Add trout to mixing bowl, flaking it into small pieces with your hands. Mash with fork until finely shredded. Add remaining ingredients, and mix with fork until creamy. Salt and pepper, to taste (you will probably need very little salt). Serve with crackers and/or crisp vegetables for dipping. Serves 4 as an appetizer.

Published on June 7, 2017
About the Author
Nils Bernstein
Contributing Editor, Food

A fan of sweet wines, sour beers, and old-school Rioja, Bernstein is an exhaustive traveler in search of new and unsung chefs and restaurants, innovative wine and food pairings, and eating and drinking at the source. In addition to Wine Enthusiast, Bernstein has written for Bon Appetit, Men’s Journal, New York Times, Men’s Fitness, Hemispheres, and Kinfolk, among others.


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