OK, I understand
If I lived on the coast, my options for fish would be many and varied. Alas I’m an in-lander so I’m limited to just a few options, one of which happens to be trout. I fish for it in rivers, lakes and stocked farm damns. I love nothing better than a day out with my fly rod, waving my stick in the air, enjoying the beauty of the natural world with the fly line dancing in the wind. If I’m lucky I’ll come home with a few fish for cooking, if not it was a day better spent than in an office!
Trout is a stunning fish to eat and versatile fish to cook. Many a trout has graced my humble smoker, but this method aside, one of my favourite ways to cook it is baking it in arrabiata sauce. Cooking the fish in this sauce keeps it lovely and moist, while allowing the flavours of the passata based sauce to infuse the meat.
Sounds pretty fancy doesn’t it?! But when you break down the recipe you’ll see that it’s really just a baked fish laced in pasta sauce. It’s super easy, and delivers pretty good results!
For Arrabiata Fish
1 x whole fish (any whole fish around 500 g)
5 slices hot salami, chopped
4 slices prosciutto, chopped
3 x large mushrooms, chopped
2 x onions, chopped
5 x cloves garlic, chopped
500 ml passata
1 cup red wine
Knob of butter
1 handful parsley, chopped
1 handful black olives
Tabasco sauce Plain flour Oilve oil
4 x potatoes, peeled and roughly cut into chunks
1 tbsp dried thyme
The first step is in this recipe is to obviously catch the fish. If that proves too difficult then there is always the *cough* trout farm option. Especially if you guaranteed your dinner guests trout and then don’t deliver, this missing ingredient will not go unnoticed! Promising fish-based meals in advance is something I learned NOT to do years ago.
So perhaps a more achievable starting point would be to pre heat the oven to 180C.
Now heat some olive oil in a pan and cook the salami and prosciutto for a few minutes until they get a little crispy, then turn the heat down to medium and cook the onions until they’re nice and soft.
Turn the heat back up and add the wine and deglaze, scraping all that good flavour off the pan. Once the wine has cooked out it’s time to add the passata, mushrooms, garlic, olives, parsley and a splash of Tabasco. Turn down to a low simmer, stirring occasionally for 20 minutes.
Now it’s time to prepare the trout. Give it a rinse under the running water and pat dry. Dust the whole fish in flour, and then heat the butter and olive oil in a pan and cook on each side to give it a little colour.
In a large baking dish, ladle over a cooking spoon worth of the sauce on the base, then lay the trout on top. Finish by pouring the remainder of the sauce over the fish saving some for the cavity. Bake for 20 minutes at 180C.
While that’s baking I start on the chips. What a perfect side for fish! Crispy fried thyme flavoured fried spuds. Sure it’s a little naughty but life’s too short to worry about that!
Par-boil peeled and halved potatoes for 5 minutes or longer, just get them to that point where until you can easily pierce them with a fork with little effort. Drain the spuds and allow them to cool (some people like to par-boil the potatoes whole and skin on, you do what you feel’s best).
Once the spuds have cooled I cut them into rough chunky chips or chunks depending on my mood that day, toss them in a large mixing bowl with some dried thyme and then I fry them in cooking oil until golden brown. Lay them on some kitchen paper to drain excess oil and season.
Serve the cooked fish in a large serving tray with the chips on the side. Grab fork. Devour.