Another gobsmackingly good trout recipe created by Chef Phil Verden, this month’s featured chef. His lovely crispy-skinned, pan-fried trout from Stream Farm is served with a warm salad that can be modified to use whatever seasonal ingredients are available. For example, in the summer, Chef Verden loves to use fresh tomatoes (as pictured above) grown in Clavelshay Barn’s kitchen garden, and rock samphire and dandelion as this combination gives a distinct bitter flavour. At this time of the year, he replaces the tomatoes with beetroots, and the rock samphire and dandelion with monk’s beard.
No matter which seasonal ingredients you choose to use in your warm salad, this is a great way to smarten up trout for a special meal.
4 portions of trout (de-scaled and pin boned but skin on)
300g clams (well washed to remove the grit)
1 large glass white wine
2 large beetroots, cooked, peeled and cut into small pieces
1 bunch of monk’s beard
1 bunch spring onions, finely sliced
Pinch of sugar
Extra virgin rapeseed oil
4 portions potato gnocchi (recipe below)
Oil for frying
Salt and pepper
Sea herbs, micro green and salads (use whatever suits you)
FOR THE GNOCCHI
Make gnocchi using 2lbs of warm dry mashed potato (I like to bake my potatoes in the skin then scoop out the hot flesh and push through a ricer, buy not boiling them you won’t get a wet heavy gnocchi) mix this with 1.5 cups of plain flour and 3 egg yolks, salt, pepper and few grates of fresh nutmeg. Mix lightly by hand until a dough is formed, roll out into desired shape. These can be cooked now or frozen for later use.
FOR THE CLAMS
Take a large heavy saucepan with a lid and heat up. When hot add the washed clams and the wine, the pan will fizz up and make lots of noise. Pop the lid on, give a shake and leave to cook quickly. When the clams are open they are good (around 1-2 minutes). When cooked, tip into a colander over a bowl to save the cooking liquor, let the clams cool.
When the clams are cool pick the meat from the shell, discard the shells and keep the meat cool until needed. Strain the cooking liquor through muslin to remove any sand.
FOR THE DRESSING
Make the dressing, reduce the clam liquor until almost 1 tablespoon (this will be a very strong salty essence) take off the heat and add 75g sherry vinegar. Bring this to the boil and then add 300g rapeseed oil and the sugar remove from heat. Season, taste, season again.
BACK TO THE GNOCCHI
Finish the dish, drop the gnocchi into a large pan of boiling salty water, when they rise up and float they are cooked, drain from the water. Fry the gnocchi in a little oil until lightly golden, drain onto paper and keep warm.
FOR THE TROUT
In a large non-stick frying pan cook the seasoned trout skin side down in oil for around 2 minutes, when the skin is nicely golden turn the fish and cook the other side for 1 minute. (times depends on the thickness of fish) whilst the trout is cooking add the beetroots, spring onions and clam meat to the dressing and warm through. When the trout is cooked remove from the pan and let it rest whilst keeping it warm.
FOR THE MONK’S BEARD
Drop the monk’s beard into boiling water for 15 seconds then drain and then add to the frying pan the trout was in and toss around in the oil.
PLATE THE DISH
Place the dressing with all its garnish on the base to a plate forming a ring. Scatter the gnocchi over the dressing, now add the trout skin side up into the centre of the plate. Scatter the monk’s beard over the gnocchi and around the trout and then finish the dish with your selection of sea herbs and salads.