Monday, 23 July 2012

Trout Fillets with Salsa Verde

I spent twenty years not eating fish and seafood. My decision to not eat fish is one of those childhood memories that stand out quite clearly amongst the more faded and incomplete. I was sat at the dinner table eating a whole trout covered in slithers of almonds, picking out bone after bone. The effort far outweighed the enjoyment. Combine this with malodorous trips to the fish market and it was game over for fish and seafood.

Through my twenties when I was seriously getting into cooking, I always felt that fish and seafood was my culinary Achilles heel. I could not consider myself a decent home cook when there was a whole repertoire of tastes and textures that were unknown to me. So, I tentatively started dipping my toes in the water. Encouraged, first of all by my seafood loving husband and then by a desire to make sure that my daughter eats a well-rounded and nutritious diet, I have embraced experimenting with fish and seafood. The fruits of the sea now make (at least) a weekly appearance on our dinner table.

So, it is with a hint of irony that the fish that turned my seven-year-old-self off fish all those years ago is now the fish that I find the most succulent and delicious. It is also a firm favourite with my three year old. Here, it makes for a light summer supper and with the help of your fishmonger, there need not be a bone in sight.

 Serves 2

For the fish
2 trout fillets (bones removed).
2 handfuls of plain flour.
Olive oil.
Sea salt & pepper.

For the salsa verde

2 garlic cloves.
1 tbsp. capers.
3 cornichons.
1 handful of basil.
1 handful of mint.
1 handful of parsley.
1 tsp. mustard.
Juice from 1/2 lemon.
Olive oil.
Sea salt & pepper.  
1 tsp. sugar (optional)

To serve

2 large or 3 medium potatoes.
1/2 cucumber. 
Lemon juice.
Olive oil.

First, the salsa verde. Crush your garlic cloves or sprinkle them with salt and smooth them into a paste with a knife.

Finely chop the capers, cornichons, basil, mint and parsley. Put these and the garlic in to a bowl.

Add the mustard, lemon juice and stir together with a fork. 

Add the olive oil slowly, stirring with a fork until you have a pesto like consistency.

Check the flavour, add a little more lemon juice or oil, the sugar if required and season to taste.

Peel and chop the potatoes and steam or boil them until just cooked (you don't want them to fall apart.)

When the potatoes are cooked, drain and put to one side. Put a couple of tablespoons of the salsa verde into a large bowl and loosen it into a salad dressing consistency with a little extra lemon juice and olive oil. Toss the warm potatoes in the dressing.

Put a frying pan on to a medium-high heat with a drop of olive oil. 

Peel strips of cucumber using a vegetable peeler and arrange on your plates.

Mix a little flour, sea salt and pepper in a large dish or tray. Dip the skin side of your fish in the flour, shaking off the excess and drop into the frying pan to crisp up. When the fish is almost cooked through (it only takes a matter of minutes), take it off the heat and flip the fish to give the flesh side 30 seconds until it is just cooked but still succulent. 

Serve with the potatoes, cucumber and salsa verde.


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