Sunday, January 8, 2006

Seared Trout with Braised Fennel

Remember my recent mis-adventures with frozen trout? This is trout with fennel: try 2. After tasting this dish at Ten Tables, I was determined to recreate it at home, and nothing was going to stop me this time. I got fennel, I got fresh trout, I even got a wine to match -- Alsacian mix of Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris, and something else I can't remember (minerally and just stunning with fennel). I don't usually buy that "it's all about ingredients" tale. But it was all about ingredients this time. I guess when your dish only has 2 ingredients, they'd better be good.

Fish substitutions: you can use any fish for this recipe except for really dense ones (this means NO monkfish, mahi-mahi, swordfish, or tuna). If you want the dish to taste similar to white trout, substitute fatty, delicate fish with skin, such as steelhead trout, arctic char, salmon, and bluefish.

Serves 2

1 Tbsp olive oil, plus more as needed
1 large fennel bulb, sliced
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 Tbsp chopped parsley
2 white trout fillets with skin (6-8 oz each)
1/2 Tbsp butter
Salt and pepper
  1. If using fish thicker than 1/2 inch, preheat the oven to 400F.
  2. Set a large skillet over high heat. Add 1 Tbsp olive oil and wait for it to get hot. Add the fennel and cook until most of the slices are golden brown, stirring not more often than once a minute, and adding more oil as it gets absorbed(you'll probably need about 2 Tbsp of oil total). This will take 5-7 minutes. Don't be tempted to stir fennel too often -- really let it brown. Those caramelized pieces are the best part.
  3. Turn down the heat to low, season generously with salt, and add the wine. Cover immediately and steam until all the wine is absorbed and fennel is tender, 7-10 minutes.
  4. Taste and correct seasoning. Stir in the parsley.
  5. Dry the trout well on paper towels and season with salt and pepper on both sides.
  6. Set another large non-stick or well-seasoned cast-iron skillet over high heat. When hot add the butter and swirl to cover the skillet.
  7. Place trout into the skillet skin-side down and cook without disturbing until the skin is browned, about 3 minutes. Flip and cook one minute longer. To test for doneness, separate the flakes in the thick part of the fillet with a fork. If only a trace of translucenly remains in the center, trout it done. If substituting thicker fish, finish cooking in 400F oven so that the total cooking time (searing + baking) equals 8 minutes per inch of thickness.
  8. Divide fennel among plates, top with trout (skin side up) and serve.


Amy said...

That looks delicious!

Andrea said...

Oh, my. I love fennel and this looks like a fantastic way to use it!

You totally rock.

paz said...

This does look delicious. I love fennel, too.


gini said...

My boyfriend made this for me last night and it was excellent. Served it over a bed of watercress. Yum!

Heather Bucell said...

This is so simple and delicious! Once I sauteed the fennel I put wine in a small covered pot and simmered the fennel in there (my large saute pan doesn't have a lid).
I also used a mandoline to slice the fennel up nice and thin.

T. Dobbs said...

Thanks! I lucked out when I typed in the ingredients I had on hand: fennel and trout and found this recipe. Not only did I find a great recipe but also the name of a restaurant in Provincetown, MA where I vacation every year...I intend to try it this year.