Saturday, November 17, 2007

Barbecued Lemon Trout

This entry first appeared on Recipe Maven (LJ).
Entry: When I first met the fish - it was two frozen trout fillets and, while it had good color - it was frigid and almost without promise. A day or so in the dark and coolness of my fridge made the trout relent, and it was far more malleable when I got home. I didn't want any evidence - so no photos were taken.

By then, however, the lemon and the lime were barely on talking terms and had to be gotten rid of. They were hiding behind two bread heels that were no better than the citrus. Obviously they had to go too. Pepper is a great one for conspiracies - so there was no way I was going to leave him out of this. But the trout alone wasn't enough - it needed a sidekick, and in the summer a mixed salad is always available for any nefarious plot.

The trout took a bath and lost its packaging quickly enough, and, after toweling it off, I set it on a plate to rest. The microplaner made quick work of the lemon's peel, and after a quick squeeze over my fingers - the lemon wasn't keeping any secrets. The lemon juice made the trout wet and bitter - it was starting to cook before my very eyes. But I wasn't done yet. On the counter, watching the whole affair - the lime began to sweat; but I left it there, knowing it would perform better under stress. Naturally pepper had to get into it - a sprinkling of ground pepper atop the zest and lemon juice was hardly visible, but everyone would know its presence later.

The Box Grater changed the bread heels forever. No longer heels, they were now fresh bread crumbs. They were sprinkled over the trout so I couldn't see it cooking anymore. About the time I went out and lit the gas grill the lime had stopped sweating, and the trout looked presentable. The trout went onto the gas grill (skin side down) with a hiss and a whiff of steam, but the lemon and the pepper kept it fragrant and the bread crumbs were already soaking up most of juice and the smell.

Back inside I wiped away the scene of the crime and dug out my trusty salad spinner - all in front of the lime.
A large red bell pepper fell to my chef's knife and I gutted it and discarded the ends. Next came the lettuce. Romaine leaves - bright green and vibrant; I cut them into bite-sized pieces and stacked them all in my salad spinner. After a good rinsing I spun them dry and dumped them into my salad bowl. The bell pepper and romaine lettuce were already well entangled. Three tablespoons of mixed beans (with as little of the bean liquid as possible) fell into the center of the salad. To it I added 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar and 1 of olive oil, and of course ground pepper. Now everything gleamed in a shine that only oil can provide. I stirred the mixed salad up quickly and put it in the fridge to get better acquainted.

Outside the fish was steaming, but not quite done when I checked on it (the edges flaked easily when poked with a fork, but the middle was still pretty wet). So I closed the lid and went away for 10 minutes. When I came back the fish was a nice even pink and the edges a bit charred. I quickly pulled the fish off the grill and turned off the gas. Back in the house I finally dealt with that lime. I rolled it around first, giving it a good workout before I diced it into eighths.

I plated the fish with a 1/2 lime splayed atop the fish. I filled the rest of the plate with the mixed salad and beans. It was a simple meal without regrets. I did it once, and I'd do it again.

Makes 2 servings.
* 1 lemon
* 1 lime
* 2 trout fillets, deboned but with skin
* 2 pieces bread, heels preferred
* 2 teaspoons pepper, freshly ground

* 1 tablespoon olive oil
* 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
* 3 tablespoons mixed beans, from a can
* 3 cups romaine lettuce, washed and diced
* 1 red bell pepper, gutted, washed and diced

1. Wash the fish and pat dry.
2. Zest the lemon atop the fish.
3. Squeeze the lemon's juice atop the fish.
4. Sprinkle ground pepper atop the fish.
5. Grate the bread into bread crumbs and sprinkle atop the fish.
6. Place on a hot barbeque (preferably covered)
7. Cook until the center is done (about 20 minutes). Do not flip.
8. Wash the salad and mix all the ingredients together.
9. Dice the lime and add it atop the fish.
10. Serve 1/2 trout and 1/2 salad.

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