Monday, 1 November 2010

Wild Sea Trout

My boyfriend Harry is a keen fly fisherman and we often have trout for supper but this weekend he went river fishing on the Tyne and caught a 4lb wild sea trout.  Sea trout are migratory fish and like salmon spend much of their lives in the ocean before returning to freshwater to spawn. The taste is very like that of salmon but the flavour is softer and milder and the flesh a lighter pink. The taste of wild trout is so much better than the farmed fish (some supermarkets do sell wild sea and rainbow trout) and knowing exactly where, when and how your fish was caught is really great.

With a smaller fish Harry would normally wrap the fish in tin foil with some seasoning and wine and bake in the oven but this little fish was so big it wouldn't fit in the oven and very nearly didn't fit in my fish kettle.

Layer a whole bunch of parsley on the bottom of the kettle, place the fish on top and sprinkle over some crumbled bay leaves, fennel seeds, pepper, lots of salt and a couple of glasses of white wine. Fill the middle of the fish with some slices of lemon and squeeze over a little extra lemon juice. Pour boiled water over the fish up to its middle.

Cover with a lid and half poach, half steam for 20-25 minutes. To test if it is cooked press lightly down on the fish with your finger tips; if you can feel the flesh give and flake a little then it is done. Remove the fish from the kettle but leave it still sitting on the inner tray. Allow to rest for 5-10 mins.

I like to make a lovely hollandaise sauce with tarragon (not quite a bearnaise sauce without the chervil and shallots) to go with the fish. Whisk 2 egg yolks with a table spoon of water and the juice of half a lemon. Place over a pan of boiling water on the hob and whisk in some melted butter (about 1/2 of a packet of butter). If the sauce starts to curdle the egg is cooking too fast so remove from the heat and mix in a little cold water to stop the process. When the sauce is the consistency of runny custard remove from the heat and stir in some chopped tarragon. Pour over the fish in large spoonfuls!

If you don't have a fish kettle simply wrap the fish in a tinfoil parcel and bake on a tray in the oven for 20-25 minutes. Use the same herbs and seasoning but only one glass of water, seal tightly and the fish will steam in the wine and water.

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