Monday, 20 August 2012

Poached Rainbow Trout Summer Salad with Dill Buttered New Potatoes

Poached rainbow trout salad is served with hot, dill buttered new potatoes

Trout is like most other species of fish in that it is most often served hot. The truth is, however, that it can be even more delicious served cold. Although rainbow trout is used in this specific recipe, any form of trout - from wild brownies or sea trout in the UK, to steelheads in North America - will work equally well. This method of cooking trout is as foolproof as foolproof gets, with no chance of you overcooking the fish or spoiling it if you follow the incredibly simple, basic instructions.

Rainbow trout are gutted but otherwise left whole for poaching

Ingredients (Serves Four)

2 small to medium rainbow trout
Small bunch of fresh dill
2 small cos or romaine lettuces
3 inch piece of cucumber
6 to 8 small cherry tomatoes
6 to 8 pitted black olives
2lb baby new potatoes
1oz butter
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Fresh dillweed


The trout should be gutted (eviscerated) but otherwise left whole. After you have gutted them, wash them well in cold water and lay them in the base of a large soup or stock pot. Season with sea salt and add about half your fresh dill sprigs. Pour in enough cold water to comfortably cover the trout and put the pot on to a high heat.

Rainbow trout ready to be poached

As soon as you can see the water starting to boil, turn off the heat, move the pot carefully to a cool part of your hob and cover with the lid. Leave it alone to cool for a couple of hours. It is the residual heat that slowly and gently cooks the trout, ensuring it remains deliciously moist and nutritious, with precious little of its natural oils being lost to the poaching liquer.

When the trout are just about cool, add your potatoes (unpeeled) to a large pot and season with salt. Add enough cold water to completely cover, bring to a boil and simmer for half an hour.

Cooked and cooled rainbow trout are removed from the poaching pot

When the trout and the liquid have cooled, lift the trout out of the pot to a plate. Leave them for a couple of minutes to drain and dry off a bit while you quickly assemble your salad.

Wash the lettuce leaves and roughly shred them before laying in the base of a large serving platter. Half the tomatoes and half the cucumber lengthwise before slicing in to crescents. Arrange on top of the lettuce. Half the olives and add them next before seasoning with salt and pepper.

Assembling the salad bed for the rainbow trout flesh

In order to remove the flesh from the bones of the trout, begin by making a slit along the lateral line of the trout with a very sharp knife, right through until you feel the resistance of the main skeletal bone. Peel the skin away to the sides and slide the flesh off in the same way. Lift the head and the whole backbone should lift easily free, revealing the second side of the trout. Slide the flesh off the skin in a similar fashion.

Removing the flesh from the bones of the poached rainbow trout

Lay the trout on top of your prepared salad. Drain the potatoes through a colander and return them to the pot. Leave to steam and dry for two or three minutes. Add the butter.

Roughly chop the remaining dill. Scatter half over the rainbow trout salad and add the other half to the potatoes. Gently swirl the potatoes in the pot to evenly coat with the dill butter and pour in to a separate serving dish. Take your dishes to the table and serve with chilled white wine.

Rainbow trout flesh is laid on the salad bed, ready to be garnished and served

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