Monday, June 21, 2010

Tartar of Marinated Trout

About 2 years ago, the commissary shut down for a few days so that we could all travel to Quebec City for one of Mrs. Hackknife's conferences. During the trip, she and her fellow co-workers attended a teambuilding event at a local cooking school - out of this, we returned home with a number of French-Canadian recipes, all of which sat on the cookbook shelf until such a time as yours truly felt competent enough in the kitchen to attempt some of them. Whilst flipping through the recipe file the other day seeking something to throw together for a nice mid-week meal, I stumbled across this recipe collection and homed in on the trout tartar.

We like fish. We also like raw fish (at least the missus and I do). I have never prepped a raw fish dish before, but the recipe sounded so ridiculously easy that I had no qualms about trying it, up until the point at which I had to actually find a pound of trout fillets. Now, I have no regular seafood purveyor (there are none within about a 30-mile radius of here) and the local Large Corporate Supermarket told me that they rarely carry trout (odd, I thought, seeing as we live in a state bordering one of the largest freshwater lakes in the world and trout is a freshwater species). Our local specialty grocery did have some, but only the whole fish. Had a fishmonger been working at the seafood counter either time I showed up (the butcher was the only one around), I probably could have gotten him (or her) to fillet it for me, but after the second time, I basically said "$#^&% it, I'll figure out how to fillet the stupid thing myself" and high-tailed it out of there with a fish (see photo of our victim above).

Armed with instructions/pictures from my Joy of Cooking and a sharp knife, I proceeded to slash the magnificent creature to shreds, yielding 9 ounces of meat from a 2-pound fish (I don't know where exactly that ranks as compared to a skilled fish prep cook, but I suspect it's somewhere in the neighborhood of "shameful"). On the upside, I did manage to pull out all of the bones, leaving me with a minor moral victory to build on for next time.

1 lb. trout fillets
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. capers, chopped
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
bitter greens (endive, escarole, or radicchio)

Remove skin from trout fillets. Cut fillets into small dice and place in a non-reactive dish. In a small bowl, combine all remaining ingredients except greens. Pour over trout, cover, and marinate in refrigerator for at least 1 hour. Serve on greens (I also threw a tostada underneath to add a little texture and make it portable).

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