Thursday, September 29, 2011

Unorthodox Meals: "Worthy of its Rainbow Moniker" Trout

You know how it is when you first move into new digs, the kitchen is usually the last thing you unpack and replenish. Especially when there are colorful art supplies to arrange, clothes to arrange and all your favorite photos to place around your new space. The pantry suffers until exhausted from your efforts you realize suddenly on a Sunday afternoon that you are hungry.

I had made a trip to the Farmer's Market for greens but hadn't gone much further and was living on salads for a week when I realized I would finally have to go shopping the next day but alas wasn't ready to put on the shoes and make the trek to a local Whole Foods yet on a grey, gloomy beach afternoon. I finally opened the freezer to see what bounty a close friend had brought over to hold me over and found an odd assortment of things: frozen fiber bagels, some stir fry veggies, a whole turkey leg, a piece of rainbow trout and some jars of exotic condiments.

Rainbow trout! I have never really been a friend of trout. I think the last time I ate a piece it was seriously smoked and laid on a bed of greens at lunchtime years ago when I worked for an insane artist who had a penchant for dry fish. I wasn't really impressed and usually am a bit of an embarrased snob when it comes to filets of the sea, preferring salmon and halibut and scallops and shrimp and other bizarre bits. But I was determined to try and make something glorious with the glowing pink steak and ended up making something that was worthy of its "rainbow" moniker.

My Midwest mother raised us on dishes where every protein on the plate could easily be mashed in a pile with the veggies and potatoes and cream sauces that seemed to accompany everything so that the whole mushed together bite would deliver a delight. I am proud to say that this meal qualifies in that realm as well, albeit in a signature to Southern California way.

Rainbow Chutney Trout and Green Beans

Cut a beautiful one inch thick filet of trout from the middle, most wide portion of the steak.

In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup of crudely diced white onion, 1/4 cup of fresh cilantro, 1/2 cup of chopped fresh mango, salt and pepper and one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. Let sit for ten minutes so the flavors have a chance to meet and mingle.

Oil a piece of tin foil and place the trout filet on it and cover that with the chutney mixture. Pull the tin foil up and pinch at the ends so it makes a nice little boat for the fish but leave a hole open in the center for steam to escape.

Separately, fill a baking dish with green beans. Chop up two cloves of garlic and throw them in the dish around the beans. Throw in three pats of butter and sprinkle rosemary on top from three long, fresh sprigs. Salt and pepper to your liking.

Put the trout and the beans into a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes and voila! The trout comes out beautifully moist with a sweetness accentuated by crunchy onions and exquisite cilantro scents. The beans get all shriveled and crusty with the fragrance of rosemary. Put on a pretty plate and enjoy! My mother would be proud...

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