Food, Recipes

Fishing for compliments


I’ve just cooked my first ever trout. And it was good, perhaps even better than good. At any rate, the legend of my cooking prowess lives on. I thought I’d share the recipe with you. (Such as it is.)

First, catch your trout. If you’re lucky, someone else will do this, including the icky gutting head-chopping bit. In which case, it will already be slit along its belly, from tail to neck. (Do fishes have necks? Anyway, the bit where its head would have joined its body.)

If it’s not, throw the fisherman back and try to hook yourself one who will perform this perfunctory chore. (And yes, I know you don’t have to take the head off, but Tom needed his fly back. So, I was presented with a headless gutless trout, and seeing as I don’t have a cat to munch on the leftovers, it all worked out for the best.)

But, back to the method: Place a length of tinfoil in a roasting dish. Place the trout on the tinfoil. (Are you still following?)

Sprinkle the cavity with salt. Grind in some pepper. Stuff it with a good hunk of butter, a small bunch of parsley, a lemon cut into fat gin and tonic-worthy slices, about a tablespoonful of capers and three or four anchovy fillets.

Trust me, no one will know about the anchovies if you don’t tell them.

Pour a decent slosh of wine over the top. The dregs of the almost-finished bottle which has been kicking around in the bottom of the fridge for the past week will be perfectly okay.

Wrap it up well, bung it in a hot (200 degrees or thereabouts) oven for about 20 minutes. Et voila.

If it’s cooked enough, the flesh will have changed colour and be more opaque, and the skin will peel back easily. If it’s not, just remember millions of of people around the world eat raw fish every day and feel no ill effects. Or toss it back in the oven for another five minutes. Lots of lovely buttery juices imbued with tons of flavour will collect inside the tinfoil in a fragrant pool. Save it to spoon over the trout when you serve it.

We ate ours with red potatoes boiled in their jackets and broccoli cooked Italian-style. (Steamed in a frying pan until soft, with olive oil and chillies and garlic and three more anchovies, a little water and the rest of the wine, then roughly mashed with a fork. Looks very rustic, tastes out of this world.)

There’s nothing left to do but eat, drink, and do the dishes. Why does there always have to be a hard part?


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