“Go West” – a gay pride anthem, an Ulster Rugby chant and advice dispensed by the then editor of the New-York Tribune, Horace Greeley in 1851 as “Go west young man, and grow up with the country.” The pride anthem was originally released by the Village People in the late seventies and brought up to date by the Pet Shop Boys in 1993. I have that version on my iPod. I sang the Ulster Rugby version, with tears in my eyes, along with 18,000 others at my hallowed Leinster Rugby ground, the RDS, to honour Nevin Spence, a very talented Ulster Rugby player who died in a tragic accident on the Spence family farm in 2012. I can claim no association with Horace Greeley.
However, all the above are asides to today’s musings. The “Go West” I want to promote today is instruction to a dear family friend, Gerry. He brought us a delicious brown trout, caught by his own fair hand, while on a sojourn in his beloved Connemara. So, I reckon that if Gerry goes west to Connemara, I have a chance of another wonderful wild trout. Just for clarity, this is the real deal. This is no farmed specimen. This was plucked from Lough Mask using decades of practice, guile and local knowledge.
Given the provenance of the fish, I thought it best to keep the preparation simple. So, I steamed it, using the ultra-controllable gas barbecue, on a bed of fennel with white wine.
I folded the aluminium foil over the fish, leaving an opening to facilitate adding the wine.
I then sealed the parcel and left it on the barbecue over a medium/low heat for 15 minutes. While this was looking after itself, I prepared some noodles to accompany the fish. First, I chopped some garlic, ginger, red onion and green beans. These were added to some hot oil in my trusty (and not rusty) wok.
Then I added the sliced beans.
I stirred until they reached a hot green colour. That’s enough. Then I added four portions of noodles, prepared earlier.
I then poured in a ‘good splash’ of chili oil. Then a couple of good glugs of soy sauce.
I stirred while it heated through and combined the flavours.
I then opened the sealed parcel containing the trout.
Next, I brought the fish, in its parcel, to the table and removed the skin.
I then lifted the flesh off the bones. A few stray bones are inevitable. I picked them out while humming my new favourite tune “Go West, there are big trout there, Go West….”
We then ate the fish, served on a bed of tasty noodles.
This was a truly magnificent dish. The fish was wonderful and, as I type, I am looking forward to having some cold tomorrow. I can only reiterate my original wish “Go West Gerry, go West……”