Cold Poached Sea Trout with Tzatziki

Sea trout is a fish without peer - and while also known as the salmon trout, it is genuinely a trout and not a salmon. It is related to the freshwater brown trout, but at some point exchanged the constricting habitat of the rivers for the open sea. Like the salmon, though, it returns to fresh water to spawn.

Its flesh is pink, but not as red as salmon. Like the lobster, it is so delicious it needs no fancy cooking no trappings, and is best served with the minimum of distractions. The fish is best poached whole and served cold with some sympathetic side dishes.

Mayonnaise and new potatoes go well with sea trout I also like it with tzatziki, the Middle-Eastern cucumber salad spiked with mint and a little garlic. I stress a small amount of garlic - too much and it would be disconcertingly vehement.

Ingredients

  • 1 whole sea trout, weighing about 1,35-2.3kg/3-5 lb, cleaned and with the gills cut out
  • about 700ml/1ΒΌpt Court-bouillon
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar

For the Tzatziki

  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 straight cucumber
  • 6 mint leaves
  • 575 ml/1 pt plain yoghurt
  • salt and pepper

Utensils

  • fish kettle
  • saucepan
  • blanching basket to match the saucepan

Method

Mise en Place

Make the Court-bouillon as described and allow it to cool completely.

Cooking

Put the fish into the kettle and pour over the cold court-bouillon. Stir in the vinegar and just enough cold water to cover. Bring it slowly to the boil. Allow to bubble a couple of times, put on the lid and remove from the heat Allow it to cool completely in the liquid.

Make the tzatziki while the fish is cooling: put a pan of salted water to heat Smash the garlic clove and chop it finely. Top and tail the cucumber, then dice it Finely chop the mint leaves.

Put the diced cucumber in the blanching basket and dip it in the boiling salted water for 15 seconds to wilt it slightly. Refresh and drain. Pat dry with paper towels and put into a serving bowl. Add the chopped mint, garlic and yoghurt and season generously with pepper. Mix and taste, adding salt to taste.

Remove the fish from the court-bouillon, place it on an oval serving plate and remove the skin from the top surface.

Serving

People do some grotesque things to whole cold fish. My pet dislike is the caterer's cucumber fish scales ... yuck! Leave something this beautiful alone.

Simply serve with warm boiled new potatoes and the tzatziki. Nothing else is needed except cold dry white wine.

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