Saturday, March 10, 2012

Rainbow Trout with Jerusalem Artichoke puree

A fine looking fellow

Friday night is fish night. Well, not every Friday, but this particular Friday was fish night.

On the way home from work I acquired an Ontario-farmed, whole rainbow trout.  As much as a filleted trout is easier to work with, cooking a whole fish is a special treat. Before I eat an animal, it is certainly a privilege to look it in the eye first, as I did with this fellow. Also the cheeks are like little oysters of tender deliciousness - certainly not available on a fillet. I picked this guy up at the Maple Leaf Gardens Loblaws. A terribly over-priced, foodie amusement park. It doesn't have the soul of the Saint Lawrence Market, nor the character of Kensington Market. It has far too many freezers. However it is also an immense, well-organized and tidy bastion of all things cooking. There are very few things that are not found in this unique grocery store. The fact that it is on the way home from work is doubly dangerous to my pocket book.

I hate myself for loving it.

In any event this is how I prepared the trout: first, I gave him a good wash, and scored the skin with a few shallow slashes of the knife. This allows for seasoning to penetrate the flesh. Then I rubbed him over with olive oil, salt and pepper. I seasoned the cavity and then stuffed it with fresh parsley, bay leaves, a mild-ish fresh red chili chopped chunkily (with the seeds).Then, into a roasting tin, and in a hot 400 degree oven for about 15-20 minutes.  I turned on the broiler for a quick two minute sizzle at the end in hopes of getting a slight char. Accompanying this fish were runner beans (oiled, seasoned and laid next to the fish during roasting).

I also garnished with a Jerusalem artichoke puree. This is a recipe I saw Ramsay do in his 'F Word' show. It's basically peeled and chopped chokes simmered in a bit of stock until tender. Then they are simply pureed and seasoned. That's all Ramsay does to his (for which he serves with duck ravioli). However, I found his version was slightly bland and had a texture reminiscent of children's apple sauce. This was rectified by folding in some Dijon mustard, a knob of butter and a bit of fresh herbage. Jerusalem artichokes taste a bit like  water chestnuts and have a generic nuttiness to them that works well in these situations.
If you don't mind the fiddliness of peeling back the skin, and having to carefully pull the meat away from the bones, a whole fish is actually much better than 'parts' of a fish. The bones impart flavour and natural gelatin that is hard to beat. Unfortunately for me, the kids got to the cheeks before I did and I had to settle for the eyeballs. All in all, good eats.

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