There’s nothing like a good trout for lunch to inspire. Mine was eaten a week ago, on a glorious day in rural Bavaria, on a terrace high up a hillside overlooking the Chiemsee surrounded by snowy mountains.
The trout was delicious, butter-fried, but served with indifferent boiled potatoes with chives. It made me yearn for a good Black Isle-grown Rooster tattie as the accompaniment.
However, trout is a fish I intend to buy more often. We are so spoiled with our magnificent seafish that we tend to overlook the delights of this humble species, one of very few freshwater fish that can be described as delicious – most freshwater specimens taste of mud and seem over-endowed with bones. But trout is different, whether fresh or smoked.
Trout lends itself to a number of foods which are mutually compatible in terms of taste, which also offer contrast in texture, in some cases. Examples include lemon and lime, onions or shallots and leeks, mushrooms, nuts – especially almonds, walnuts and pistachios, and grapes. Capers teamed with lemon and brown butter is one of my favourite ways to cook and eat this fish – though more usually encountered with skate, it works just as well with trout. As with all fish, trout is fast-cooking convenience food. The fish has a good firm-fleshed texture and its flesh is easily parted from the bones.
Trout with almonds and grapes
4 trout, cleaned – which trout will be if they are bought, rather than caught
2oz/55g butter plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
3oz/85g flaked almonds
1 level teaspoon salt, and 15 grinds of black pepper
4oz/110g black grapes, halved and any seeds picked out
½ pint/285ml double cream
Melt the butter and heat the olive oil together in a wide sauté pan and, when foaming, fry the flaked almonds with the salt and black pepper for 2-3 minutes, until they turn colour. Do this over a moderately high heat, not full-on hot. Then add the trout to the pan with the almonds, and cook for 2 minutes on each side. Lift the cooked trout onto each warmed plate and add the halved grapes and double cream to the sauté pan. Bring the cream to a gentle bubble, then spoon the grape and almond cream over each trout, and serve.
Smoked trout with lime, beetroot and dill salsa
This makes a simple, delicious and do-ahead first course or main course lunch or supper for 4.
6 fillets of smoked trout
For the salsa
4 raw beetroot, each halved and diced finely – little fingernail-sized dice
the finely grated rind of 2 limes, and the juice of one
3 tablespoons olive oil
a small bunch of dill, finely chopped
1 rounded teaspoon horseradish relish
1 level teaspoon salt
Combine the ingredients for the salsa and spoon at the side of the smoked trout fillets. Serve with a vinaigrette dressed salad of assorted leaves.
Trout with brown butter, capers and lemon
4 trout, cleaned
4 rounded teaspoons fat juicy capers, drained of their preserving brine
1 level teaspoon salt, about 15 grinds of black pepper
juice of ½ lemon and 1 lemon cut into quarters – to serve
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
In a saucepan melt the butter over moderate heat. When melted, simmer the butter – beware too high a heat, you do not want to burn the butter – and it will turn nutty brown, about 3-4 minutes. Then pour the nutty brown butter into a frying or sauté pan and add the capers, and fry the trout, for 2 minutes on each side.
Lastly, lift each trout onto warmed plates, and add the salt, black pepper and lemon juice to the pan juices. Bubble for a minute, stir in the finely chopped parsley and spoon this mixture from the pan over each trout.
TOP TIP: Trout is low in both fat (a third of the fat of salmon) and calories, with high levels of A and B vitamins, calcium, selenium and Omega-3
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Monday 20 May 2013
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