Living in Pretoria and near prime trout towns such Dullstroom, Belfast and Lydenburg, it just makes sense to me to support trout farmers as they are closer to us in terms of freshness and accessibility of produce. Sea fish options are usually frozen due to the fact that we live far inland and nearly 700km away from the nearest coastal town. We are very fortunate to have access to quality farmed trout. Yes, I know there is this perception that farmed is not always so good, but I have found that many of the farmers are extremely conscious and sensible when it comes to the treatment of their fish and many still try to use natural farming methods where they can and I feel they add to the sustainability of trout.
I love the delicate flaky pink to orange flesh of trout and when lightly smoked the flavour is much rounder, fuller and I find more enhanced as well. I do my own smoking when I have time for it, otherwise if you don’t have time for it, Woolworths sells a lovely lightly smoked trout that will work just as well. Here is my recipe for a delectable fillet of Lightly Smoked Trout, pan fried and served on a bed of carrot and cucumber ribbons, poached fennel and a delicate sesame vinaigrette. This is a quick and easy light spring or summer, of course spring is just around the corner, and most of the components can be prepared in advanced and assembled just before serving. Enough for 4 portions. I love to pair it with La Vierge Temptation.
For the Salad:
- 2-3 Large Carrots
- 1 Large English Cucumber
- 2-3 Fennel Bulbs
- Juice of half a lemon
- Onion seed sprouts
For the Vinaigrette:
- 90ml Olive Oil
- 30ml Sesame Oil
- Juice of one lemon
- 2ml Onion Seeds
- 1ml powdered fennel seeds
- Salt to taste
For the Trout:
- 800g of Lightly Smoked Trout
- Salt and Ground Black Pepper to taste
- 30ml Olive Oil
- 1 pack Onion Seeds Sprout
For the Vinaigrette: Add all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk until emulsified. Set aside till needed.
For the Salad: Peel the carrot and slice ribbons with a vegetable peeler. Blanch the ribbons for 1 minute and refresh in ice water, remove and set aside. Peel the cucumber and with a vegetable peeler slice ribbons off the cucumber. Add to the carrot ribbons. Cut the fennel into slices and blanch for a minute in lightly salted water with the juice of half a lemon, remove and refresh in ice water. Combine the carrot and cucumber ribbons and blanched fennel in a bowl and dress with half the vinaigrette, mix well.
For the Trout: Cut the Trout into 200g fillets and season only the skin side with the salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a pan and pan fry the trout until the skin is crispy and the fish is just cooked. Allow fish to rest while assembling the plate.
- Add a heap of the ribbon salad to the middle of the plate.
- Set a piece of trout on top of the ribbons.
- Arrange some of the fennel around the trout.
- Add a small bouquet of the sprouts on top of the trout.
- Drizzle the remaining vinaigrette around on the plate and scatter some onion seeds around on the plate.