Monday, February 17, 2014

The perfect meal for two

On Valentine's Day I cooked this pan-fried trout with salad and it really was the perfect meal for two, something simple yet special.

Pan-fried trout with mixed salad, bacon, almonds and beetroot
Pan-fried trout with mixed salad, bacon, almonds and beetroot
For two people:
olive oil (for frying)
butter (for frying)
2 trout fillets (boned)
140g lardons
about 100g sourdough bread (cut into croutons) - you can use ready-made croutons but this dish is definitely better with home-made ones
handful flaked almonds
50g water cress (or mixed salad - we used one with a mixture of watercress, rocket and baby leaf spinach)
about 160g beetroot (not in vinegar, diced)

For the dressing:
3tbsp olive oil
1tbsp red wine vinegar

This dish was made a little tricky by the fact that I only have one hob but I didn't let that put me off trying.  This would be far easier if you have two (as you can start with the fish and while that is cooking prepare the lardons, croutons and the salad.  However, in order to make this work I prepared it in a slightly different order.

First, toast the flaked almonds in a dry pan over a medium heat, until they turn golden, this will take a few minutes but keep an eye on them and toss them gently and regularly so they don't burn.  Once ready set them aside in a bowl for later.

Add about 1tbsp oil to a frying pan,  and fry the bacon lardons and croutons for about 10 mins until they are crisp (you will need a medium to high heat for this).  Once again, set aside.

Now heat 1tsp olive oil with 25g butter in a non-stick frying pan (large enough to hold your two pieces of trout).  Heat the oil and butter until they start to sizzle, then add the two pieces of fish, skin-side down and fry for 10-15 mins, basting often, until the skin is crisp and the fish has cooked through.  Then, turn the fish over for a minute, before serving, skin-side down.  Be careful when turning the fish as it may break.

fry the fish skin-side downturn the fish over for a minute

While the fish is cooking, prepare the salad.  In a small bowl whisk together the oil and vinegar for the dressing with some seasoning.  Toss your salad, beetroot, lardons, croutons, almonds and dressing together in a large bowl.  Once the trout is cooked serve it with the salad on the side.

The laid table, with food and wineAs this was a special meal we set the table and decided to open a bottle of wine.  Last year when I was in Germany I discovered a couple of new grape varieties which I hadn't previously known about; silvaner, bacchus and Müller-Thurgau.  Unfortunately, it is very difficult to find wines from the Franken region in England as they aren't generally exported.  So I decided to see if I could find a wine made from one of grapes.  Thanks to my wine society membership I was able to find an English Bacchus from the Chapel Down Winery in Kent.  It was a lovely, fresh wine that went very well with the fish with its elderflower scent and tangy, fruity flavours.

Royal Tokaji
Rather than eating dessert we decided to drink it instead!  We'd been meaning to drink my Royal Tokaji, 2008, (a gift from my parents) for a while and this seemed like the perfect occasion.  Tokaji (pronounced 'Tokay' in English) is a region in northeast Hungary which is particularly known for its sweet, dessert wines (Aszú).  Needless to say, I loved the wine (I have a very sweet tooth) and it was the perfect end to a lovely meal.

Recipe adapted from BBC GoodFood Magazine

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