Pan-Roasted Rainbow Trout
Sweet Home Café Cookbook: A Celebration of African American Cooking
“The mustard greens–stuffed rainbow trout makes an impressive main course when presented on a large platter and dressed with hazelnut brown butter sauce. Rice is the perfect accompaniment, as it will soak up any of the excess nutty butter.”—JBF Award nominee Albert G. Lukas and JBF Award winner Jessica B. Harris
- 2 cups cubed cornbread, in 1/2-inch cubes
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus more for the baking sheet
- 1 large thinly sliced Vidalia or other sweet onion,
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped into a fine paste
- 1 pound roughly chopped mustard greens
- 1 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
- 2 cups Cornbread Croutons
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt plus more for serving
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 6 (12-ounce) whole trout (ask the fishmonger to prepare the fish as whole, headless, butterflied, and boned)
Hazelnut Brown Butter Sauce
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped blanched hazelnuts,
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh sage leaves
- Kosher salt to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Make the croutons: preheat the oven to 275˚F. Spread the cornbread on a baking sheet and bake until lightly golden and crisp, about 20 minutes. Let cool completely.
Make the trout: heat a large skillet over medium heat. Pour in 2 tablespoons of olive oil and add the onion. Reduce the temperature to low and slowly caramelize the onion, cooking for 15 to 18 minutes. Add the garlic paste and cook for another 2 minutes.
Add the mustard greens and cook until the greens have wilted. Increase the heat to medium, stir in the sun-dried tomatoes, and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until the moisture has evaporated. Remove from the heat and transfer the mixture to a medium bowl.
Fold the croutons into the mustard green mixture and season with the salt and pepper to taste. Cover and chill [the mixture] in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
Place the trout on a baking sheet, unfolding one side of each fish to open it like a book. Lightly season with salt and pepper. Spoon about 3 tablespoons of the corn bread stuffing into each cavity. Gently spread the stuffing the full length of the trout fillets; the depth of the stuffing should be about 1/2 inch. Fold the top half of the fish back over the stuffing. Transfer to the refrigerator to chill for 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 200°F.
Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a large nonstick skillet set over high heat. When the oil is hot, add 3 trout and cook for 4 minutes on one side, then carefully flip the fish over and cook the second side for another 4 minutes, until a golden brown crust has formed and the flesh flakes and is opaque. Transfer the fish to a clean, lightly oiled baking sheet and place in the warm oven while the remaining fish cook. Repeat with the remaining trout.
Make the hazelnut brown butter sauce: pour off the oil from the skillet and return the pan to the stovetop. Add the butter and heat until it is a light golden color, about 2 minutes. Add the hazelnuts and cook until the butter develops a rich golden color, 1 to 2 minutes more. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the lemon juice and sage. Season with the salt and pepper to taste.
Transfer the trout to the individual plates and spoon the hazelnut brown butter sauce over the top.
Pan-Roasted Rainbow Trout is excerpted from Sweet Home Café Cookbook © 2018 by NMAAHC, Albert Lukas, and Jessica B. Harris. Photography © 2018 by Scott Suchman. Reproduced by permission of Smithsonian Books. All rights reserved