These days a trout recipe is rarely on a restaurant menu. I suspect this is because its big brother, the mighty salmon, is for many, a safer and tastier option. In my humble opinion that’s wrong on both counts. I find the lovely sweet, soft flakes of fresh trout irresistible – but its also man enough to take on some strong, acidic flavours. This dish is perfect for summer, a real flavoursome and exciting meal that proves trout deserves a place on the top shelf of the great Scottish larder.
Get on first name terms with your fishmonger to make sure you get the freshest of trout. If you ask nicely you will get it scaled, filleted and pin-boned. I prefer to use chicken stock for this dish as the delicate flavour develops the sauce. That said, it will work equally well with fish or vegetable stock.
2 x 200g trout fillet
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic (germ removed)
½ teaspoon grated lemon zest
½ teaspoon finely chopped fresh ginger
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 shallot peeled and finely diced
1 tablespoon of quality white wine vinegar
50 ml dry white wine
100ml chicken stock
25g shredded fresh sorrel leaves
50g unsalted butter
1 tablespoon double cream
Combine the rosemary, garlic, lemon and ginger and add a small pinch of salt and a grind of pepper. Lay the trout flat, skin side up, on a board and carefully slice scores about 3mm into the fish across the width about 3 cm apart – you’ll end up with about 5 scores in each fish. Gently prise these apart and place some of herb and lemon mix into each making sure most of it is under the level of the skin and really penetrating the fish itself. Place into the fridge while you make the sauce.
In a pan on medium heat reduce the shallots and vinegar gently to a thick syrup, add the wine and repeat, add the stock and reduce by 1/3, add the sorrel and allow to gently wilt. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter and cream, season to taste and keep warm – away from a direct heat. You can if you like blend with a stick blender.
Warm a non stick pan on a moderate heat, season your fish skin side up, add the olive oil to the pan and gently place the fish skin side down – gently press for a second to allow an even cooking. Season the flesh side of the fish, allow the fish to gently fry for 2 minutes and carefully turn. The skin should be golden. Allow to cook for only 30 seconds more and remove the pan from the heat.
Warm two plates and immediately place the fish into the centre of each. Carefully remove the skin by pinching the end and pulling back; you should see a beautiful pink surface studded with the herbs. Serve with the sauce reduction dotted around and accompany with some simply cooked boiled potatoes, a wedge of lemon and some dressed lettuce or, when the season is right, asparagus. Enjoy.