Rainbow Trout with Braised Fennel


You could swap the trout for salmon but it would be higher in calories

One of the advantages of living in the arse end of a small Cheshire town is that the locals don’t know how to cook fish, which is a harsh, sweeping generalisation but I’m sticking to it. Towards the end of the day my local Co-op regularly has lots of clearance items of fish at rock bottom prices, including cod, salmon and sea bass. So, when it started stocking rainbow trout I knew it was only a matter of time before I’d pick up a bargain. Two packs, which should have been £8, only cost me £1.80. I make no apologies for being a smug twat.

Off home I gleefully trotted and put the trout in my freezer, where it subsequently resided for 6 months. It turns out I’m as equally clueless when it comes to cooking trout as my local constituents are. But a lightbulb went off in my brain when I came across Rainbow Trout with Braised Fennel from Tom Kerridge. Sadly, my excitement turned to despair due to my poor execution of the recipe. Now whose the smug twat?

I couldn’t be arsed to use a cook’s blowtorch to char the trout and therefore overcooked it in the oven to compensate. I completely forgot to add the crème fraiche at the end and my fennel tasted of fennel, which is fine if you like fennel, but I found the taste somewhat overpowering. I also should have podded my broad beans but again, I couldn’t be arsed.

Sometimes you get out of something what you put in, and I wasn’t as committed to making this dish when it came down to it. It would turn out better if I tried it again, but at nearly £5 a portion (full price) I don’t think I’ll bother. One final thing, the portion size is huge for 2 people, I split it between 3 and it would even stretch to 4.

Recipe: Rainbow Trout with Braised Fennel

Calories: 500 calories per serving

Serves: 2

Book: Tom Kerridge – Lose Weight for Good

Prep time: Approx 20 mins

Cooking time: Approx 30 mins

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium fennel bulbs (thinly sliced, fonds reserved)
  • 2 banana shallots (thinly sliced)
  • 3 garlic cloves (finely sliced)
  • 250ml fresh fish stock
  • 4 skin-on rainbow trout fillets (120g)
  • 100g frozen peas
  • 100g frozen baby broad beans
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp crème fraiche
  • Sea salt
  • Ground black pepper

Cost per portion: Approx £4.98

Method:

Preheat the oven to fan 180 degrees C / gas 4.

Put the fennel, shallots and garlic into a roasting tin, mix well and season with salt and pepper. Pour on the fish stock and cover the tin with foil. Cook on the top shelf of the oven for 15 minutes, taking out the roasting tin halfway through to give everything a good stir and stop the fennel burning.

Remove the foil and return the roasting tin to the oven for 10 minutes until the fennel is cooked and there is only a little liquid left. If necessary, give it a few more minutes in the oven.

Meanwhile, season both sides of the trout with salt and pepper then, with a sharp knife, score the skin at 1cm intervals. Place the fish, skin side up, on a metal tray and wave a cook’s blowtorch over the skin until lightly charred.

Remove the roasting tin from the oven and add the peas, broad beans and lemon zest. Lay the trout on top of the fennel and bake for 5 minutes or until the trout is just cooked through.

Mix the crème fraiche through the fennel and scatter the reserved fennel fronds over the trout. Serve straight away.

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