While we were on our way to the fish counter at the grocery store, my husband and I spotted rainbow trout fillets. It’s been a very long time since I ate trout and we both decided to buy them over the salmon fillets. Rainbow trout (member of the salmon family) is native only to the rivers and lakes of North America, west of the Rocky Mountains, but its value as a hard-fighting game fish and tasty meal has led to its introduction throughout the world. Mint, one of my favorite herbs, has been used for centuries to help settle a nervous stomach as well as being used as a mouth and breath freshener. The anti fungal properties of mint are also thought to play a role in the treatment of asthma along with other allergy conditions. Coriander (cilantro) packs a flavor of both citrus peel and sage and can be traced back to 5,000BC making it one of the world’s oldest spices.
4 (180g) rainbow or ocean trout portions
2 cobs corn, husks removed
Olive oil for brushing
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 bunch asparagus
1 cup basil leaves
1 cup mint leaves
1/2 cup coriander leaves
1 long red chili, seeded and sliced
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil, extra
Lime wedges, to serve
Preheat the barbecue to medium high. Brush the fish and corn with oil and season to taste. Cook fish for 3-5 minutes each side (or to your liking) and barbecue corn until tender, turning occasionally.
Trim asparagus, cut into 4-5cm batons and blanch in lightly salted boiling water. Drain and refresh under cold running water, drain again. Cut the kernels from the cob and place in a medium bowl with the asparagus, basil, mint, coriander and chili. Add lime juice and extra oil and toss to combine. Place fish on serving plates, top with herb salad and serve with lime wedges.
The Culinary Chase’s Note: WOW! The flavors coming from the herb salad was sublime! I love the heat coming from the chili slices and the fresh acidic splash from the lime juice. My husband cooked the trout using a vertical cooking method (the fish doesn’t get turned over). It’s an easier way to cook the fish without it sticking the grill when flipped. Place trout, skin side down on aluminum foil, and close the lid of the barbecue. Make sure the temperature does not go past 350f (180c) otherwise you’ll burn the fish. The trout fillet we had was only an inch thick so it didn’t take long to cook. Tender and moist was the outcome and the herb salad atop made for a delicious meal.
By The Glass Tasting Note: Sommeliers often have their cop-out pairings. The mere whisper of asparagus will have well seasoned sommeliers twisting the cap off of a kiwi Sauvignon Blanc without so much as a second thought. Well, either I am under or over seasoned (guessing by my grey hairs its the latter). Unless you go for the top end and get New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc such as Cloudy Bay with some real minerality I would pass on the kiwi fruit salad and look for something with some nerve, verve (winespeak for some fresh acidity) and a little bit of weight too. Pinot Grigio is rarely a wine I would select (most often dilute and definitely lacking in the nerve and verve area) but if you can find one of the truly great northern Italian Pinot Grigios such as those from Fruili, Friuli Isonzo, Collio or Colli Orientali that actually have some weight and backbone you will have a surprisingly good pairing. The greenier elements of the wine will mingle nicely with the herbs and asparagus but there will be sufficient weight to handle the trout. If you can find it, look out for Vie di Romans Dessimis Pinot Grigio from the Fruili Isonzo DOC. The wine is made by Antinori, and is brilliant in its combination of subtle weight and minerality – not to mention its pink hue is a brilliant colour match for the dish as well. Pinot Grigio isn’t always just patio wine; it can be patio dining wine if you find the right one.