Hope Floats: Trout a la Nage

December 8, 2010

recipe for trout a la nage

The other day I got pepper in my eye and from there, things continued to get worse. Dustin — champion eater and supporter of all things buttery and rich — made the disturbing proclamation that he was going to start watching his diet. As I blinked wildly, trying to cry away the surging heat in my pupil, I realized that there was no worse pain in the world than taking away my butter.

After a day or so of drafting my culinary will (“I hereby bestow my good kitchen knife to my sister — who always enjoyed sole meuniere…”), I remembered three little words. Á la nage. And then I felt the words slip through my lips with whispy admiration: à la nage. Á la nage! The answer to my conundrum had been there all along.

Cooking à la nage means poaching food — usually seafood — in a court bouillon and serving the two things together in a shallow bowl. Literally, it means “in the swim.” The vegetables often become part of the dish, or at the very least, they become part of the garnish. I made it once in culinary school and I remember it being quite delicious — albeit devastatingly healthy. Was there hope in our culinary worlds, after all?

I rolled these trout fillets and lined them up like like soldiers in a flavorful mixture made of white wine, vegetables and fresh aromatics. Even if they’re baked with virtually no fat enhancements, they’re super flavorful if you’re careful with the seasoning. Translate: don’t skimp on the salt. You can watch your [ insert loathed body part here ] but when it comes to salt, I’m not budging. I mean, you can’t have it all, people.

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Trout a la Nage with Riesling

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 cup dry Riesling
1 large carrot, finely julienned
1 large celery rib, finely julienned
1/2 small sweet onion, thinly sliced
4 whole black peppercorns
3 juniper berries, crushed
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 bay leaf
1 thyme sprig
1 oregano sprig
1 tablespoon canola oil
Four 7-ounce skinless trout fillets
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter (optional)

Procedure

Preheat the oven to 375. In a saucepan, combine the Riesling with the carrot, celery, onion, peppercorns, juniper berries, garlic, bay leaf, thyme and oregano. Bring mixture to a boil.

Meanwhile, season the fish with salt and pepper. Starting from the tail end, roll up each fillet and secure with a toothpick in the center. Transfer the trout rolls to a baking dish.

Pour the Riesling mixture over the trout rolls and bake for 15 minutes, or until the fish flakes. Let rest for 5 minutes, then remove the toothpick. Transfer the rolls to shallow bowls and spoon the vegetables on top––removing the bay leaf, herb sprigs and peppercorns from the broth. Whisk the butter into the broth (optional), season with salt and pepper and spoon the broth over the trout. Serve right away.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

5chw4r7z December 8, 2010 at 7:08 am

If he sticks to his diet with the same passion he did the P90 you won’t miss butter long.

(he doesn’t read your blog does he? just kidding Dustin)

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Courtney December 8, 2010 at 7:22 am

Yeah… that was insane. Who’s got the time for that thing?

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jeff December 12, 2010 at 10:02 am

Poached trout. It sounds warm and comforting. Perfect for a day like this when I am looking out the window at snow and the TV keeps promising several inches more. Where do you get your trout?

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Carol December 14, 2010 at 6:46 pm

I know what you mean, Jeff!!! :)

I get my trout from this guy down the street. His name is Steve. He’s got all sorts of fish. Trout, bass, shrimp, you name it. He’s got it all. I usually recommend buying your fish on Tuesdays. See, fish is delivered to the sea/lake ports on Mondays. Usually takes a day thaw so I stick with Tuesdays. Anything after that and you’re gonna be dealing with some fish gone bad (as my friends from home used to say). Also, instead of using cocktail sause, I like to use a bold mustard and a pinch of seasoning salt. Gives the fish a zesty, salty taste to go with the scaly texture. I like to pair fish with a white wine or a citrus cocktail. You want to stay away from red wines as we usually reserve those for red meats (e.g. steaks, roast beef, and italisn sausage). Now, I bet you’re wondering what you should have for dessert. Well, if you’re still hungry after all that fish then you must have quite the appetite! Pair the fish with a key lime pie or a vanilla ice cream sundae with brownies and sprinkles. It’s ok to have milk with the dessert, you could want to avoid mixing it with the fish entree. Bon appetit!

- Carol :)

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