During one of my summer vacations in the Pyrenees, I saw my uncle who knew all the good fishing spots of the local river catching trout right out of its hiding place.
When the trout showed up on dinner table later that day, I mentionned seeing him in action.
He denied being the culprit of course.
Recipe (below) from Hero Food, How Cooking with Delicious Things Can Make Us Feel Better (Andrews McMeel, April 2012) by Seamus Mullen brought back these memories of summers past.
Gently Roasted Brown Trout with Summer Squash
My friend Franca Tantillo’s amazing farm in the Catskills, Berried Treasures, is the source of the most incredible produce she sells at the Greenmarket in New York City’s Union Square. Sometimes when I’m lucky, she’ll also bring down some fresh German brown trout from a fishery nearby. I prepare these fish with herbs from her garden, both raw and lightly cooked summer squash, and lemon zest. Steaming the fish on top of the squash keeps it moist and delicately infuses the trout with summery flavor.
2 German brown trout, filleted, skin on
Freshly ground black pepper
½ pound mixed heirloom summer squash, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
Small handful cherry tomatoes (I love sweet Sun Gold cherry tomatoes)
1 shallot, quartered and separated into petals
Zest and juice of 1 lemon, plus additional juice for the shaved squash
Leaves of 1 sprig fresh lemon thyme
Leaves of 1 bunch fresh summer savory
Leaves of 1 sprig fresh oregano
4 or 5 leaves fresh basil, torn
1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper or hot red pepper flakes
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon dry white wine
Few pieces baby summer squash, sliced into ribbons on a mandolin
Preheat the oven to 350°. Season the trout fillets with salt and pepper on all sides.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the cut-up squash with the tomatoes, shallots, lemon zest and juice, herbs, and Aleppo pepper; season with salt and pepper. Toss with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and the white wine. Evenly distribute on a rimmed cookie sheet and slide the pan into the oven.
While the squash is in the oven, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large cast iron pan over medium-high heat. Add the trout fillets, skin-side down, and sear until golden and crispy, about 3
minutes. Carefully remove the fish from the pan and place them, skin-side up, on top of the vegetables in the oven. Finish cooking the trout in the oven until just cooked through, another 5 minutes. The squash should be bright in color and barely cooked, with a bit of toothiness.
In a small bowl, season the raw squash ribbons with salt, pepper, the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, and lemon juice to taste.
Divide the cooked vegetables evenly among 4 warm plates. Place a fillet atop each bed of vegetables and scatter each plate with a few raw squash ribbons. Serve immediately.
(* Recipe from Seamus Mullen's Hero Food 'How Cooking with Delicious Things Can Make Us Feel Better'-Andrews McMeel-April 2012, Photographs by Colin Clark)