Trout in Parchment with Crosnes, Fennel, Carrots, and Herbs

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Odessa says that this is a March dish, because it uses the last of the root-cellar vegetables—in this case, crosnes. Crosnes look and taste like a bit of a cross between a Jerusalem artichoke and a small fingerling potato, despite the fact that they belong botanically to the mint family. They are very popular in France. If you can’t find them here, substitute slices of Jerusalem artichoke.

The trout Odessa uses at her restaurant, Etoile, in Madison, Wisconsin, are from the cold waters of the glacial aquifer that feeds the springs at Artesian Farm, so the flesh is firm and pure. The other special ingredient here for Odessa is the organic, cold-pressed grapeseed oil, whose flavor is delicate enough for the trout.

To make the paper forms for this dish, use a large sheet of parchment on which you have drawn a solid figure-8, so that you have cut out 2 circular halves attached at the center where the circles meet, each circle a few inches longer than the filets of trout, or at least 15 inches.

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Ingredients

  • 4 fillets trout, from 2 whole fish, boned
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup crosnes, scrubbed, or thickly sliced and peeled Jerusalem artichokes
  • 1 large fennel bulb, cored and shaved into paper-thin slices
  • 2 large carrots, cut into 1- by 1/18-inch sticks
  • ¼ cold-pressed grapeseed oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon leaves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chervil leaves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh Italian parsley leaves, chopped
  • 1 lemon, preferably Meyer
  • ¼ cup herb shoots (lemon verbena, marjoram, or a mix; optional)

Method

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Put the parchment on a baking sheet(s) and place 2 trout fillets on one circle of each parchment double round shape, with the belly or thin sides overlapping so that the 2 fillets have an even thickness. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

In a large pot of salted boiling water, boil the crosnes, fennel, and carrots together for 1 minute. Drain, cool in a bowl of ice water, and drain well. Pack the crosnes, fennel, and carrots tightly around the edges of the fillets and season the vegetables with salt and pepper.

Mix half the grapeseed oil with the chopped herbs and spoon over the fish and the vegetables. Squeeze half the juice from the lemon over the fish.

Fold the other circle of parchment over the trout packages and, starting at one end of the connection, fold over the edges 3 times to crimp very tightly in a ½-inch fold all the way around the circle.

Bake for 7 to 10 minutes, depending on how cold the fish was. The parchment should puff up. Remove the parchment packets to a platter and open up in front of your guests with scissors. Fold back the parchment and scatter the herb shoots over the fish. Drizzle on the rest of the grapeseed oil and lemon juice, and pass the sea salt.

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