07 May 2012

Crispy Trout, Rosemary Chickpeas, Ginger Libation

I can explain, I can explain - I haven't posted anything for so many weeks because I haven't made anything interesting. Part of this was having a stomach bug for a little over a week, during which time I was never really hungry and my stomach always felt unsettled, more so after eating and as the day progressed. The silver lining to that cloud was the day my hunger returned - I ate six meals and was still hungry the next day. That was on Thursday; cooking was cancelled on Friday in favor of pizza and drinks with a friend. Saturday, it was on.
E and I wrote down three recipe options from a book, plus knowledge of our main, and went to the store. The plan was crispy-skinned fish with rosemary chickpeas and either lentil strudel or Asian summer rolls as well (the last three of which are from The Herbal Kitchen). My grocery store, to add to the long list of things it lacks, carries neither phyllo dough nor rice paper, so we just opted for a salad. Which was a wonderful idea - handling phyllo dough for the lentil recipe looked Sisyphean, though the summer rolls looked plausible.
The fish also posed a conundrum; the store had wild Alaskan King salmon, a truly ostentatious fish I've cooked once before. This time, the butcher had accidentally skinned their fillets, leaving us with a single, pedestrian option: butterflied trout, farmed. Given the intended prep method, I think a leaner fish was the right (accidental) call. The fish was mostly crispy, flaky, and perfectly flavored with only salt and pepper. The rosemary chickpeas, somehow, seemed to go well with the fish. And E made a wonderful drink of ginger beer to go with the weather. A fine return to cooking, I say.
Crispy-Skinned Trout
Serves 2
1 trout, skin on, butterflied (we got a 0.62 lb fillet, already prepped)
olive oil
ground sea salt
ground pepper
semolina flour

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Do any prep necessary for your fish - we removed the head and some of the fins, though my knife wasn't sharp enough for all. In a oven-safe pan that can fit your fish, heat a thin layer of olive oil to just below smoking. Pat the fish dry with a paper towel, then rub it with a mixture of salt and pepper on both sides. Add a small dusting of semolina flour on the skin side and make sure there isn't any excess.

Place the fish, skin down, in the pan and make sure it stays flat so the skin is in constant contact with the pan. Cook for 3-5 minutes, until it looks crispy, then flip the fish over and move the pan to the oven to finish. This took ~2 minutes for our fish, given how thin the fillet was; more may be required if you have a thicker cut. Serve immediately.

If eating with rosemary chickpeas (which are, essentially, heated chickpeas tossed with rosemary), I recommend the drink E made. Add a small amount of vodka (to taste) and a thumbs-length of rosemary to a highball/rocks glass. Muddle a bit. Fill glass with half a Bundaberg or so and add a slice of lemon. Let it site for a few minutes as the rosemary flavor won't immediately infuse.

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