Gentle readers, sometimes the Practical Cook has a shopping fail. This past weekend, she pulled the classic maneuver of neglecting to buy the primary ingredient for Sunday’s dinner, fish. Let the record show, fish is not listed on the upper left quadrant of the infamous four-square shopping list.
Undeterred, she slipped out quickly to purchase the ingrediente segreto. (Soundtrack: Human by the Human League.)
Gentle readers, whole fish are not for the faint of heart, but perhaps your heart is not as faint as you think. The Practical Cook was once challenged as a meat-eater to face fully what was being eaten. This is the difference between preparing a whole fish and a fillet, the truth of the matter is on display.
If your eaters are brave, this is an exciting presentation. If they are not, it’s a most excellent science lesson. Whole fish are wonderfully simple to prepare, especially fresh trout.
Simple Trout Recipe
The hardest thing about this fish is flipping it. I used a rubber spatula which gave me some flexibility, possible too much. I ripped the skin, looked like a Muppet juggling the second fish, and swore I would get a fish spatula for next time. As long as it doesn’t hit the floor, you’re good. Don’t be tempted to fuss though, fish is delicate.
2 whole trout, cleaned and with notches cut into the sides of the skin
salt and pepper
1/2 to 1 lemon, sliced into wedges
1/2 sweet onion, cut into large wedges
1. In a large heavy skillet (with a lid), heat the olive oil and butter over a strong medium heat until butter melts.
2.Meanwhile, rinse and pat the trout dry. Salt and pepper the trout inside and out. Stuff the trout cavity with a few lemon wedges, using the remainder to squeeze over both sides of the trout.
3. Add the trout to the hot pan, placing the onion wedges between. Put the lid on the skillet. Roast for 5 to 7 minutes per side, using a fork to check for doneness (it should just flake).
Serve with lemon wedges, and a nice side of Bacony Potato Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette (recipe tomorrow!).
Are you friend or foe of whole fish? Post a comment below, or chat with me on Twitter if you want to hear something about fish eyeballs.
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