Rainbow Trout : Lettuce Cream : Almonds : Hedgehog Mushrooms : Asparaguses

1 Mar

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Finally I get the opportunity to post a fish dish on my blog. It’s been some time since I last did, and I don’t even know why. If you follow this blog, you probably know by now that this is quite a carnivorous site, and as much as I love land and flight capable animals and most of my posts feature them, fish is my favorite thing to eat. If you are new to this blog, be warned, there will be blood.

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Fish is tricky to photograph because it has little patience. You need to work fast with fish, keep it fresh, fillet it while it’s cold, and eat it right away, there’s very little room for camera work. The photography portion of the post is quite a hassle actually, but I can’t help it, I enjoy taking photos almost as much as I enjoy cooking.  I’ve been working on this recipe for some time, mainly because I’ve been learning how to fillet trouts (Still learning, it is definitely a tricky skill to learn) and also because the plating required a bit more thought. The last few times I wasn’t happy with it, the dish didn’t look right and since I’ve ran out of patience just like a fish, I hope this one looks better because I’m done eating trout for a while. I’m Trouted out!

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This dish is extremely easy and quick to make but it delivers wonderful flavors and textures. You will notice the little seasoning I used. I wanted to keep the ingredients as true to themselves as possible, something I like doing when cooking fish and in general really. If you’re into fish, but haven’t tried making it at home, or maybe, when you pan fry fish you end up with dry fish, read on, I will cover some tips on cooking fish that I hope you find useful. Properly cooked fish should be delicate and moist, the kind that melts in the mouth.

Btw, I was just invited to join the fifth edition of Fiesta Friday (thank you Angie) a digital potluck by my friend Angie at The Novice Gardener that offers the opportunity to connect to other great wordpress bloggers. I will be featuring this recipe there. Please, check out the links. Beautiful posts by Angie’s readers and contributors, and Angie’s as well await!

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Ingredients (yields 2 servings, takes about 30 minutes):

1 whole rainbow trout (filleted, six small steaks)
1 cup of mushrooms (hedgehogs in this recipe, but shiitake works amazingly well)
6-8 Asparagus tips
8 lettuce leaves plus a few more
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 Tbsp sliced almonds (more if you like)
Splash of lemon juice
Extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp of butter
Salt and Pepper to taste

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1. Make the cream of lettuce. In a saucepan. Boil the lettuce leaves in cream until they wilt. About 6 minutes. Salt to taste. Keep a few lettuce leaves for later. Transfer wilted leaves and cream into a blender. Blend until very smooth. Be careful when blending hot liquids, always use a dry kitchen towel to hold down the blender’s lid and press down on it confidently. Blend away. Add a splash of lemon juice, adjust salting if needed. Return to lettuce cream to the saucepan. Bring to a simmer, add the remaining lettuce leaves. Cook until they wilt. Remove from the stove. Reserve.

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2. Mushrooms and almonds. Using a wide pan over medium high heat. Melt the butter. Add the mushrooms and the almonds and toss to coat evenly. Add some salt. Cook until some color develops but don’t burn the aliments. Remove from the stove. Reserve.

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3. Cooking the asparagus tips. Heat up a pan on high heat. When really hot, add some salt, add a tbsp of water and add the tips. Have the lid ready. Plenty of water steam at this point. Cover the pan with the lid. Turn off the heat. Let the tips cook covered for about 2 minutes, and uncovered until the water is gone. Add a little olive oil in the pan, and coat the tips. Reserve. I prefer certain vegetables this way. It is really quick. No need to wait for a pot of water to boil, and less flavor loss.

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4. The trout. I won’t go over how to fillet a trout here, because this can only be done better in a video, and there are a few really good ones out there on youtube. One tip though. If you ever fillet a fish, make sure it’s fresh and not been frozen. Once the flesh freezes, the water crystals will destroy the delicate structure of the meat, and it will become mushy, making it super difficult to fillet correctly. And also, ruining the texture of the final dish. Let’s cover the preparation.  A rainbow trout is a relatively small fish, unlike steelheads which are much bigger in size.

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Our fillets are probably about 1 1/2 cm thick, so cooking them simply on a skillet should be perfect. I like skin on my fish, specially if it’s crispy (actually, I don’t care, I love the skin anyway). For crispy skin, we gotta get a good sear on it. So… salt and pepper the fish a few minutes before pan frying. Don’t bring to room temperature. Straight out of the fridge is what we want. Bring skillet on the stove at medium high heat. Olive oil. When the oil begins to ripple, add the fillets. If the pan isn’t big enough, work in batches. Place the fillets skin side down. That’s the only side that will come in contact with the pan. Most delicate fish cook at very low temperature actually, a little over 50C. You can see the color of the meat changing and becoming opaque. After 2 minutes, turn off the heat. You could splash some lemon juice in the pan. It will deglaze the pan and the steam will finish the cooking. Cover the fish with a lid. Cook for another 2 minutes. The whole process is really quick. Another tip is: Don’t try to move the fish around while cooking, there is no need to fuss with it. And don’t try to peak under the skin too early in the process, the fish will probably be stuck to the pan and you will tear it. Be patient. The fish will come loose on its own when the skin is crispy. As simple as that even if you’re using a steel pan.

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5. Plating. Add the wilted lettuce leaves on the plate. Add some of the lettuce cream on top. Place the fish fillets. Sprinkle the mushrooms and almonds over the plate. Add the asparagus tips. Drizzle olive oil over the dish. You could deglaze the pan used to cook the fish in and drizzle the cooking juices over the final dish. And this is done.

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43 Responses to “Rainbow Trout : Lettuce Cream : Almonds : Hedgehog Mushrooms : Asparaguses”

  1. datewithaplate March 1, 2014 at 8:20 am #

    the styling is beautiful for this, I love how you’ve balanced all the elements so beautifully on the plate!

    • That other cook... March 1, 2014 at 8:30 am #

      thank you Tara, so glad you liked it! this one was a little trickier to put together but well worth it! :)

  2. Cheesy Biscuit March 1, 2014 at 8:47 am #

    That looks incredible! A little jealous that you get to eat this!!

    • That other cook... March 1, 2014 at 7:28 pm #

      :) thank you! at the same time, you should try making this when you find a beautiful fish. As you can see, it’s very easy to make!

  3. limeandbarley March 1, 2014 at 9:07 am #

    This Is a work of art – you should open a restaurant, I’d pay like £20 to eat this!! Love the combination of trout with the almonds

    • That other cook... March 1, 2014 at 7:26 pm #

      Becky! really really glad you enjoyed the post and that you like the presentation. Thank you for your wonderful comment :) Do you ever wonder why trout and almonds work so well together? they’re so distant from each other, interesting I guess :)

  4. AnotherDish March 1, 2014 at 1:24 pm #

    This looks fantastic — very nicely styled!

  5. Jess March 1, 2014 at 1:38 pm #

    Looks so delicious, Paul! Love all the colours and the whole dish looks so fresh. :)

    • That other cook... March 1, 2014 at 7:18 pm #

      Thanks Jess! so glad you liked the presentation! :) Fish and produce in vancouver is really fresh, maybe the cold weather helps keeping things bright and crisp longer!

  6. AnnaBella March 1, 2014 at 4:10 pm #

    Nice Information, thanks for sharing. Hope we will read many other good things from you in future also.
    Regards

  7. tinywhitecottage March 1, 2014 at 4:21 pm #

    Such a well put together post. Thank you for the tips.

    • That other cook... March 1, 2014 at 7:15 pm #

      always a pleasure, and thank you for your kind comment and for visiting! :)

  8. Shanna Koenigsdorf Ward March 1, 2014 at 5:03 pm #

    I love fish, too. This plate is gorgeous; I am so glad that you were inspired to post!

    • That other cook... March 1, 2014 at 7:15 pm #

      Thank you Shanna!!! I’m glad the trout madness is over around here :) at least for a few days

  9. The Novice Gardener March 1, 2014 at 8:54 pm #

    Do you eat like this every day? You’re really the chef at that Michelin star restaurant, right? Right? You must be, or ought to be! Hey, Paul, have you had the chance to take a look at my Fiesta Friday? Come and join us, it’s really quite fun! Would be even more fun with you in it! :-)

    • That other cook... March 1, 2014 at 9:11 pm #

      Hi Angie! I absolutely not eat like this everyday hahah :) but thank you so much for your kind words! I like to put extra effort in the dishes I post in the blog, I really enjoy it, but it takes time. Most evening which is when I cook, my cooking is very very simple, I tend to snack a lot of a few different things rather than compose a meal. Let me check your fiesta friday! and thank you for your invitation, I will definitely join!

    • That other cook... March 1, 2014 at 9:22 pm #

      Just visited Fiesta Friday, and I have a couple of question. I can tag my post with fiesta friday, that I know how to do, and I can mention fiesta friday on my post and link to you page, that I also know how to do. How do I add my URL on the fiesta friday page? Could I add the trout recipe to your page? let me know and thank you :)

      • The Novice Gardener March 1, 2014 at 9:29 pm #

        If you click on that button that says “Click” ( :-) yeah, you’re welcome!) you’ll go to a page where you can add your photo. Then they’ll notify me, and if I happen to have my computer on, I can approve it right away, and bring you to my blog. Sounds complicated, but it really is easy. I’m online right now, so if you want to do it now, I can add you immediately!

      • That other cook... March 1, 2014 at 10:07 pm #

        I just so the button, I’ll update my post and link my url in a minute :) thank you!

  10. Eha March 2, 2014 at 1:52 am #

    What an elegant and appetizing recipe I certainly have to try on my friends! Have never thought of making lettuce cream and tho’ there usually is no cream in this house I just have to make an exception as it looks and am sure tastes great!

    • That other cook... March 2, 2014 at 4:53 am #

      thank you Eha! the recipe doesn’t really require that much cream, and you could also use whole milk if you want a slimmer version of it, just don’t add any lemmon juice, the milk will curdle right away :) hope you give it a try! and let me know if you have questions on this or any other recipe :)

  11. chefjulianna March 2, 2014 at 9:40 am #

    Your photos are so beautiful and this recipe is very enticing!

  12. Patty Nguyen March 2, 2014 at 9:20 pm #

    Gorgeous, Paul!!

  13. Anonymous March 3, 2014 at 5:24 pm #

    Seriously I want to eat that right now!!!!!!!

  14. Amanda March 3, 2014 at 5:28 pm #

    This is so amazing. I make fish at least once or twice a week, but the photographing is very difficult. Your styling here is gorgeous and I love that you filet it yourself. The idea of cream of lettuce is so great. I think I”m going to make this this week. I also agree with you that the flavor of the fish should speak for itself. No need to add heavy sauces. I absolutely love this dish and your instructions. Thank you!

    • That other cook... March 3, 2014 at 6:15 pm #

      Thank you Amanda! I really appreciate your nice comments!I wish I made fish more often at home, I’m gonna make an effort though, the fish here in vancouver is so fresh, there’s no excuse :) If you try it, let me know please!!!!

  15. Sofia // Papaya Pieces March 4, 2014 at 7:36 am #

    Well done with your beautiful fish photos, yes as you say fish is tricky to photograph and I have still yet to make a good photo. Most of my fish dishes I don’t bother to photograph, and the ones I did I wish I could have done better. Thanks for the tip of not moving the fish around, I do that too much!

    • That other cook... March 4, 2014 at 7:52 am #

      thank you Sofia! yeah, photographing fish dishes is somewhat of a hassle, but I try to have everything ready, and I ready the camera and measure lighting ahead of time to cut down on the time, but still a bit stressful. Fighting the urge to move things around in the pan, we all struggle with that one, its hard to avoid it! :)

  16. Karen March 4, 2014 at 1:44 pm #

    Your plated fish is a work of art so there is no need to eat trout again for awhile. :) Love the idea of the cream of lettuce…it added such a beautiful color to the plate besides being delicious.

    • That other cook... March 4, 2014 at 6:06 pm #

      thank you Karen!!! I borrowed the idea for that cream of lettuce from one of my favorite cooking sites: http://www.chefsteps.com

      beautiful cooking and beautiful photography. I really like those guys!

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