The other day I popped over to my sister’s house for lunch. Now we have a little bit of a thing going, she goes shopping and then I raid her cupboards for the ingredients I want, and cook. It’s a win-win situation for the both of us.
So you can imagine my excitement when I peered inside the fridge and saw some beautiful fresh trout fillets. The pieces were thick, smelt like the sea and had a perfectly shiny skin – just right for a light searing.
If your fillets have a row of pin bones running through them it isn’t a problem as you can pull them out with a pair of kitchen tweezers. Just rub a finger against the “grain” of the bones to feel where they are, and then gently pull each one out, with the “grain”, in the direction which it faces.
This meal is perfect for dinner or lunch. I made a lighter option and served it with baby spinach, but if you throw in some baby potatoes or seasoned couscous, you have a meal fit for a hungry king. My “lighter” option was actually enough for 4 or 5 not-so-hungry people. But there were 3 of us and we were hungry, so we ate it all. And it was great.
Let me slap you with my trout.
PS: I recently learnt that there is a practise known as trout tickling, which is done in order to catch them more easily. You grab them, tickle them on the tummy and they go into a trance-like state and “forget” to swim away. How you are meant to grab them in the first instance, I am not quite sure. If anyone knows, please enlighten me.
Trout & Marinade:
- 6 fresh trout fillets, skin still on.
- 2 sliced fresh chillis. (Or to taste)
- A handful of roughly chopped coriander.
- 200ml soya sauce.
- 350g baby spinach, rinsed and dried.
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed.
- Salt, to taste.
- 1 small lemon, juiced.
- Olive oil, for frying.
- Garnish (optional):
- 1tsp poppy seeds, toasted.
- Coriander, roughly chopped.
- Chilli, thinly sliced.
- Every element of this dish needs to come together at the same time, straight off the stove and onto your plate. So to avoid confusion and to make sure everything is as delicious as it should be, prepare all the elements so they’re ready for the final hustle to get it all done.
- Marinade the fillets in the soya sauce, chilli, chopped coriander for at least 30minutes with the skin-side up. (I just turned mine over for the photo.)
- While marinating, prepare all the elements of the spinach dish and set aside.
- Lightly toast the poppy seeds for 30 seconds. Keep them moving in the pan, since can burn easily. Set aside.
- Lightly oil a pan and when hot, sear the trout fillets skin side down for a minute. This skin is going to cook off, so when you flip them over, you will be able to take it off.
- Sear the flesh side of the fillet for another minute. Set aside.
- Once all the fillets are done, pour the remainder of the marinade into your pan, add a few splashes of soya sauce and let it fry for a minute. This reduction will be spooned over the fillet before serving.
- In a pot, fry off your garlic for a minute or two.
- Then pour in your baby spinach and half the lemon juice and stir constantly. The spinach will wilt by at least ¾ of its original size. Add the remainder of the lemon juice and a final glug of oil and place in a mound on each plate.
- Top the spinach with the fillet, spoon on some reduced marinade, sprinkle with the poppy seeds, chilli and coriander and serve.
- If you notice that the oil which you are searing your fillets in starts to look a little “dirty”, give the pan a quick rinse before you cook the next batch. The little burnt bits will make the meal bitter. Please be careful not to burn yourself if this happens. I have warned you.
- I like my trout seared very lightly so it is still pink inside, but if you like it cooked through, go for it!