My penchant for deep sea fishing is well documented, but fishing for trout seems to elude me. Several of my friends regularly pursue this form of the sport, and often, as my friend Nick did the other day, turn up at the back door of the restaurant with twelve pounds of freshly caught trout, (hence "locally caught trout" appearing on the menu).
Commonly, they are caught in Hertfordshire lakes, but these were plucked from the tranquil water in Osterly Park (legally!) These are largish fish, averaging two to three pounds, called Rainbow trout or Pink trout.
There are several species of this freshwater creature throughout the world, but these are now the most common in the UK, along with the Brown trout, which are found in rivers across the country.
Rainbow trout are both wild, and farmed for food. It has tender flesh and a mild, somewhat nutty flavor. They are raised in many countries across the globe, the wild variety having a diet of freshwater shrimp and crayfish, which produces an appealing, rich pink meat.
Brown trout are related to Sea trout, which migrates to the sea for much of its life, returning to freshwater only to spawn.
I have also seen Golden Trout in a fishmonger's shop. They are a sub species of Rainbow trout, originating in California. That concludes the natural history part of my column, so on to the recipe!
There are many ways of dealing with this under-estimated fish: grilling, poaching, pan-frying, and the (little seen nowadays) Truite au Bleu, where the fish is taken live from a tank and poached in a small kettle in court bouillon. The fish takes on a vibrant bluish colour, hence the name of the dish.
This is a simple, old fashioned recipe, with a little twist, which appeared on last Sunday's menu.
Pan-fried medallion of pink trout with almonds
Ingredients Serves 4
* 4x 150g medallions of fresh trout, pin bones removed
**50g unsalted butter
**Flour or potato powder* to dust the fish
**125 g flaked almonds
**50ml dry white wine
**50ml slightly thickened veal or chicken stock
**1 tbsp finely cut chives
**1 tbsp coarsely chopped parsley
**Few drops of lemon juice
**Vegetable oil for cooking
1) Lightly season and dust the fish with flour then shallow fry in hot oil, for two minutes on each side. Allow to rest in a warm place.
2) Melt the butter in a clean pan, until it starts to bubble to a nutty brown colour, add the almonds and toss until they are light brown.
4) Add the wine and warm stock, bring to the boil and add the lemon juice and herbs.
5) Place the fish on warm plates, spoon the almonds over and serve
*For gluten-free diets