Early spring is a great month for sea trout, so this weekend I am putting it on the menu at The Guildford Arms Restaurant.
I am serving the trout with a mineral rich spinach puree, steamed new season vegetables and a fragrant sauce vierge; a dish I created for a recent Theatre of Wine Tasting to match a flinty Chablis. The result is a very well balanced dish; the fish’s delicate flavour supported, but not overpowered, by the spinach’s earthy undertones and then lifted, with hits of intense flavour, by the basil & toasted coriander. The lemon juice in the sauce is vital to counter the richness of the olive oil.
When pan-frying sea trout it’s important to follow a few simple rules; adhere to these the skin will be crispy, the flesh moist, and the wonderful flavour enhanced. Dry the fillets thoroughly with kitchen paper, heat a little oil in a non-stick pan, season the pan with salt and then carefully lay in the fillets, pressing down with a fish slice to encourage them to lie flat (scoring the skin helps). Reduce the hob to a medium heat and cook until the skin turns golden and crispy. Turn over the fish and cook on the flesh side for a minute. Pull the pan off the heat and leave for a few minutes to allow the residual heat to complete the cooking process.
Pan-fried Sea Trout with Spinach Puree, New Season Vegetables & Sauce Vierge
2 x 180g sea trout fillets – skin on, scaled
200g spinach – stalks removed
10 new potatoes
6 baby carrots
4 baby fennel
4 baby leeks
100ml olive oil
1 plum tomato – skinned, seeded & diced
1 teaspoon coriander seeds – lightly toasted
4 medium basil leaves – rolled & sliced finely
Juice ½ lemon – strained of any pips
- Pour the olive oil into a pot and add the lemon juice, coriander seeds, diced tomato, basil & salt.
- Warm gently for 1 minute over a low heat & set aside.
- Rinse the spinach and shake off the water. Place in a pot with the butter and cook until thoroughly wilted.
- Puree in a food processor until smooth (push through a sieve if you like it very silky). Season and set aside.
- Cook the vegetables, drain and pour over a little of the sauce vierge whilst they are still hot.
- Pan-fry the trout as above.
- Re-heat the spinach and spread over the plate.
- Place on the fish, and scatter on the vegetables. Dress with a little more sauce vierge.