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Chef Jon's Spotlight on Rainbow Trout

Texture: Lightly firm, tender and flaky. The skin will get lightly crispy but because of its thinness, it won't ever be extremely crispy unless it's dredged in flour and deep fried.


Flavor: Mild and nutty. Good fat content brings richness, and farm-raised rainbow trout is usually higher in omega-3 fatty acids. Because of its mild flavor but good fat content, rainbow trout can stand up to strong complimentary flavors.


Best Cooking Methods: Grilling, Pan Searing, Blackening, Deep Frying, Broiling, Baking


Best Cooking Temperature: 140-145 degrees internal temperature. If overcooked, it can become dry just like other salmonoids.


Similar Fish/Substitutes: Steelhead trout (ocean trout that is similar in flavor and texture to salmon as well; has a darker flesh but a similar flavor profile). Arctic char (ocean salmonoid that is rich and delicious).


Chef’s Notes

- Don’t be intimidated. Rainbow trout is one of those fish that I think scare a lot of people away because of its “slimy” texture before cooking and lack of understanding about its flavor.

- A very versatile fish. I love the lightly nutty yet mild flavor of rainbow trout because it allows you to pair it with lots of different sauces and preparations. Also because it is available in butterflied fillets, it's a wonderful fish for stuffing, which isn’t extremely common.

- Don’t be afraid of strong flavors. Consider pairing rainbow trout with stronger flavors (i.e. smoked sausage, Cajun spices, fresh herbs, citrus, tomato etc.) and grilling as a cooking method. The skin is thinner and can tear easily so unless you are baking it make sure to cook at high temperatures with a good amount of fat.

- Slick, shiny skin is a win! Believe it or not, it is also ideal for the rainbow trout you are buying to have a slick shiny, and slippery skin. Slippery skin is nature's way of helping a trout slide past sticks and rocks in a river without injury. Slippery is a sign of freshness, not the opposite. Dried-out skin on a trout shows it's been out of the water too long and should be avoided.


Shrimp-Andouille Stuffed Rainbow Trout with Sweet Corn Creole Gravy




*This recipe brings together flavors from the Creole and southern United States cooking cultures. I love stuffing fish, and honestly just about anything, with fillings that add both moisture and flavor to a dish. Using cornbread in the stuffing complements the fresh corn in the Sweet Corn Creole Gravy. You will often see crab used in a lot of

seafood stuffing, but with the current cost and availability of crab I find it better to use shrimp in this recipe. You can also make a 4x batch of the stuffing and simply put it in a baking dish and bake it for a wonderful side dish! The gravy may appear complicated because of the amount of ingredients but learn the technique and change the flavors to match your taste!\


Techniques: Pan Roasting, Stuffing/Dressing Fish, Thickened Sauce

Yield: 2-4 servings

Equipment Needed: Cast iron skillet, food processor, fish spatula, butcher's twine, wooden spoon

Difficulty: Moderate


Ingredients

For the Shrimp-Andouille Stuffing (Yields 14 oz.)

2 Tablespoons (.5 oz.) avocado oil

- 1/2 cup (2.5 oz.) andouille sausage, diced

- 1/2 cup (2 oz.) sweet onion, finely chopped

- 1/4 cup (.3 oz.) green onion, chopped

- 2 garlic cloves (.3 oz.), finely chopped

- 1/2 cup (4 oz.) chicken stock

- 1 cup corn bread, crumbled (store-bought or homemade, sub panko breadcrumbs if needed)

- 1 egg, beaten well

- 1 teaspoon (.15 oz.) kosher salt

- 8 grinds black pepper

- ½ lb (8 oz.) shrimp, peeled and deveined (I used 31-40 ct.)


For the Fish

- 8 oz. shrimp-andouille stuffing

- 2 (~1.2 #) rainbow trout, cleaned and butterflied

- Butcher's twine

- Kosher salt and ground black pepper


For the Creole Gravy

- 1 Tablespoon (.5 oz.) avocado oil

- 3 Tablespoons (1.5 oz.) butter, 1 for cooking 2 for finishing

- 1/4 cup (1.5 oz.) sweet onion, finely diced

- 1/4 cup (1.5 oz.) green bell pepper, finely diced

- 1/2 (.5 oz.) jalapeno, seeded and diced

- 1-2 (.25 oz.) garlic cloves, finely chopped

- 1 ear (2.5 oz.) sweet corn, kernels removed

- 1 teaspoon dried oregano

- 1/2 Tablespoon (.15 oz.) blackening spice (See recipe for Blackened Mahi Mahi Sandwich)

- 1/2 Tablespoon (.25 oz.) tomato paste

- 1/2 cup (2 oz.) white wine

- 1/4 cup (2 oz.) heavy cream

- 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

- 1 cup (8 oz.) chicken stock

- 1/4 cup (2 oz.) cold water

- 2 Tablespoons(1 oz.) Wondra flour, whisked into cold water

- 1 (2.5 oz.) Roma tomato, diced

- 1/4 cup (.3 oz.) scallion, green part chopped

- 1 teaspoon (.15 oz.) kosher salt

- 10 grinds black pepper

Instructions


Stuffing

1. Heat a 10-inch sauté pan over medium heat for 1 minute. Add the oil and allow to heat for 10-15 seconds.

2. Add andouille and cook, stirring occasionally for 2-3 minutes. We are looking to lightly caramelize the sausage and render it's fat for cooking the rest of the vegetables.

3. Add onion and cook for an additional 2 minutes until the onions begin to look translucent and soften.

4. Add the scallion and garlic and continue to sauté over medium heat for another 1 minute, until fragrant.

5. Add 4 oz. of chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce for 2 minutes. It should reduce by about half the volume of liquid. Transfer to a bowl and put into your freezer to quickly cool for 5-10 minutes.

6. In the bowl of a food processor add shrimp, cooled andouille mixture, cornbread, egg, salt, pepper, and pulse 4-5 times for a total of 10-15 seconds.

7. Lay the rainbow trout onto a paper towel-lined sheet and pat dry, especially the skin which can be slick. Season the inside lightly with salt and pepper. Spoon 4 oz. (1/2 cup) of the stuffing onto the bottom side of the trout and fold the top side over.

8. Cut 3 pieces of butcher's twine, roughly 8-10 inches each to give yourself slack. Lay the string on a cutting board in 3 equal distance lines and lay trout on top, tie the string into knots, and trim any excess string. Place the tied fish in the fridge while you prepare the sauce.






Sauce

1. Heat an enamel pot or stainless steel sauce pot over medium heat for 1-2 minutes.

2. Add the butter and avocado oil and allow to melt and bubble for 15 seconds,. Add the corn, bell pepper, and sweet onion. Sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent too much browning.

3. Add the jalapeno and garlic and cook for another 2 minutes until fragrant but not overly caramelized; lightly browned is good.

4. Add the tomato paste and spices and cook for 30 seconds. This lightly caramelizes the paste and spices and adds a depth of flavor.

5. Deglaze the pan with white wine and reduce for 1 minute until almost dry.

6. Add heavy cream, and Worcestershire sauce and bring to a boil. Simmer for 45 seconds to concentrate the flavors.

7. Add chicken stock and bring it back to a boil. Stir the Wondra flour into the cold water, and make sure it's well incorporated and smooth. Add to the sauce and bring back to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 2 minutes, stirring continuously.

8. Move the sauce to very low heat, add the tomato, green onion, butter, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning accordingly.


Fish

1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

2. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes to preheat the pan well. Cast iron pans will hold heat extremely well but take a little longer to preheat.

3. Season your trout with salt and pepper on both sides. Add avocado oil into the cast iron skillet and allow to heat for 30 seconds. Add the rainbow trout and cook for 3 minutes on the first side.

4. Check the fish and see if it's golden brown and crispy on the first side. If so, flip the fish using a fish spatula, and continue cooking for another 3 minutes.

5. Move the cast iron skillet to a 400-degree oven, cook for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, flip the fish onto the other side, and continue cooking for another 5 minutes. You are looking for an internal temperature of 150 degrees; once you hit that number remove the pan from the oven.

6. Move the fish to a cutting board to cool for 2-3 minutes before removing the string.

7. Remove the string with scissors and discard (be careful not to rip the skin too much as it is very delicate on rainbow trout).

8. Ladle ½ cup (4 oz.) sauce onto the bottom of a warm plate. Using a fish spatula transfer roasted trout on top of the sauce, garnish with fresh green onion and enjoy with your favorite side!







Suggested wine pairings available at Kathleen's Catch:

White: 

  •  -Riesling - Seehof Trocken

  •  Rose - Stoller from Oregon, or for a little higher end, Cep from Peay Vineyards in the Russian River valley. Either of these choices provides enough acidity to cut through the richness of this dish.

Red:

  • Grenache, or a Southern Rhone or Rhone style blend. - Terre Rouge Tete-A-Tete red blend

  • Zinfandel ( fruit and earthiness with soft tannins ) - Easton, Amador County.  I love slipping Zinfandel in with fish dishes!

  •  Syrah - another Rhone varietal ( Airfield Estate from Washington would be great )



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