I was lucky enough to get my hands on a brace of wild trout recently and decided to cook them in an Oriental style. This caused a bit of a of stir (not a stir fry) at home. The rational used by my detractor (the Wife) was that as they were such a fine pair of fish, they could be let stand on their own merits and there was little need to “Mess around with them with all those ingredients”. Under normal circumstances, I would be the last person to go against the views of the Wife. But, I really wanted to make the most of these delightful ingredients. I pressed ahead and hoped against hope that I would turn out a delicious dish. Wild trout is a delicate fish and needs to be treated in the same way as one might treat an argument against the instincts of the Wife. That is, proceed with caution.
As I was working with such excellent ingredients, I really did go gently. My ingredients list is pretty simple and everything used was carefully selected to add to the quality of the finished dish. Not the usual “open the fridge and see what can be added” approach to my cooking.
- 2 wild trout
- 6 to 8 spring onions
- 1 red chilli
- 3cm of ginger root
- 6 or so dried Chinese mushrooms
- 1 tablespoon of soy sauce (high grade, light)
- 1 teaspoon of sesame oil (high quality)
Place the mushrooms in a bowl and add hot water to reconstitute. When this is done (allow an hour or two) chop all the ingredients (except the fish and the liquids) into matchstick sized shreds. Cut slashes through the flesh of the fish with a very sharp knife.
Assuming you have already got your fishmonger to clean out the fish, stuff the cavities with a mixture of the ingredients. Be sure to retain enough of them to allow you decorate and rub into the slashes in the fish.
Lay the stuffed and decorated fish out on some greaseproof paper. Pour over the soy sauce and then the sesame oil.
The soy will mostly run off the fish and will help to make a nice sauce in the base of the steamer. I can’t over-emphasise the need for quality ingredients when cooking such fine fish. Don’t go with cheap sesame oil. It is acrid and clawing. Use the good stuff. It can help overcome any domestic objections to the cooking process.
Take a bit of time to get a decent photo of your work. This is one of the most photogenic dishes I have cooked in a long time. Perhaps there is something wrong with me, taking photographs of dead fish for my own amusement?
Pop them into the steamer for 9 minutes. This will be plenty of time to cook the fish and soften the stuffing ingredients enough to allow the flavours stand out nicely.
Transfer the fish to a serving dish. I am lucky enough to have a fancy fish themed one that is big enough to hold one of the fish.
To serve the fish, remove the decoration pieces, peel back the skin and carefully lift the flesh off the bones.
These were big enough to serve four people. As there was only two of us, we enjoyed one of them cold the following day. “The proof of the pudding is in the eating” as the old saying goes. For me, the proof of the fish was in the admission by the Wife that this was the best trout she had ever tasted. She is a sensible person and I knew she would agree……