Me, I hate fishing. No way can I spend six hours on a Saturday in the scorching sun, gripping a rod in a pitching boat. I like my fish two ways; either:
(1) flittering around a coral head at 35 feet while I hover nearby in neutral buoyancy, or
(2) on ice in a display case.
There is no line between these two points that I want to trace. Nature girl, I am not. At least not when it comes to fish.
That said, I love seafood. Fish is a welcome alternative to the unending beef, poultry, and pork train. Most nutritional experts agree that some amount of fish should be included in your diet, although women who are pregnant or nursing need to be choosy. Sustainability matters too. Chilean seabass has been off my menu for years because overfishing is leading to a population collapse.
Farm-raised trout is plentiful and versatile. In this recipe, the sweet trout is best served with red potatoes tossed with butter and a little extra fresh thyme. Go ahead and polish off a glass of the same semi-dry Riesling used in the sauce; it's all good.
Riesling-Poached Trout with Thyme
Adapted from Bon Appetit, January 2001
3 tablespoons chilled butter
1 very large leek (white and pale green parts only), thinly sliced
1 carrot, peeled, cut into matchstick-size strips
2 trout, boned, butterflied
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup Riesling (I used Loosen Bros. 2006 Dr. L Riesling, available for approximately $13.00 at Whole Foods)
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large, ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced leek and carrot strips; sauté until tender, about 5 minutes.
Sprinkle a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper over the trout, then fold the trout closed and nestle each piece of fish in the skillet, skin-side down. Add the fresh thyme over the fish. Top with the leek and carrot mixture and bay leaves. Dot with 2 tablespoons of butter. Pour the Riesling over the trout and place the skillet in the oven.
Bake the trout until it is just opaque in center, about 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then serve.