Winner Winner, Trout for Dinner

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You’re in for a double treat today – a delicious, easy trout dish AND the actual recipe for you to try for yourself!

The Cast-Iron Rainbow Trout (pg 151) was a smashing success, and exactly as Becky described in the book – nutty trout, woodsy mushrooms, smoky bacon, piney sage and bright wine.  And since this recipe has been publicly published elsewhere, I can share it with you here as well – score!

I must say that I couldn’t recall the last time I ate trout, which is odd since it’s native to the Pacific Northwest. But after tonight’s dish, you can bet I’ll be cooking it more often!  This was a #1 on the easy scale, and took about 30 minutes (again, BAM Rachel Ray!) to prepare.  It could easily be done while camping – which was my original intention – but cooks up beautifully and with minimal “fish smell” in your home kitchen.

You will most often find farmed trout in your stores (I purchased at PCC) which might raise the question – isn’t farmed fish bad, in terms of sustainability?  Well no, and I’ll let Becky explain why:

“Farmed trout is a sustainable choice for several reasons: 1) It is farmed in closed-containment systems, where escape is negligible;  2) Pesticide and antibiotic use is strictly regulated;  3) The feed conversion ratio for trout is relatively low, somewhere around 1 to 1.5 percent, meaning it takes anywhere from 1 to 1.5 pounds of feed to produce a pound of usable protein; and 4) Water is partially treated before leaving the raceways, which limits pollution to neighboring areas.”

So get out your cast iron skillet and get ready for an amazing trout dish – the pairing with an Oregon Chardonnay is excellent as well.  It was the ideal dish to enjoy on the back porch on one of our rare 75 degree days in Seattle. Here’s the recipe:

Cast-iron Rainbow Trout

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1/2 ounce (1/2 cup) dried wild mushrooms, or 3 ounces (1 cup) fresh wild mushrooms
  • 2 1-pound whole rainbow trout, filleted, heads, tails and ribs removed (ask fishmonger to do this)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • All-purpose flour, for dusting the fillets
  • 3 strips bacon, cut into small dice (about 1/2 cup)
  • Vegetable or peanut oil, for frying
  • 1/4 cup small, whole fresh sage leaves
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine

Instructions

Preheat oven to 200 degrees.

If using dried wild mushrooms, rehydrate them in 1 cup of very hot tap water. Place a small bowl on top of the mushrooms to keep them submerged. Let them sit for 30 minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. If using fresh mushrooms, remove any grit by gently brushing or washing them, then cut into bite-size pieces.

Season the trout fillets with salt and pepper. Dust them with the flour on both sides, shaking off any excess. Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until fat is rendered and bacon is crisp, 7 to 8 minutes. Transfer with slotted spoon to paper-towel-lined plate and set aside, reserving the fat.

Turn heat to high. When pan is very hot, fry trout fillets, skin side up, for about 2 minutes, then flip and cook for another 2 minutes or just until fillets brown. Transfer each fillet to an oven-proof platter and keep warm in the oven while you fry remaining fish (add the vegetable oil, 1 tablespoon at a time, if the pan is dry).

When you’ve removed the last piece of fish, add 1 tablespoon oil to the pan. When oil is hot, add mushrooms and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes, or until lightly browned. Add sage leaves and cook for another minute. Add bacon back to pan, then add wine, scraping the bottom of the pan to release any stuck-on bits, and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes. Taste for seasoning, then pour the mushroom mixture over the fillets. Serve immediately.

From “Good Fish” by Becky Selengut

NEXT UP: Taking full advantage of the delicious Copper River Salmon now in season, I’ll take on Grilled Sockeye Salmon with Fennel Two Ways


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Copyright 2011 Karen Rosenzweig