It's times like this that I really wish I could take a better photograph - because this looked, as well as tasted, absolutely gorgeous. The peerless Soper's are selling wild Irish trout at the moment for £9.95/kg. Hard to resist. The fish I bought cost £5.12 and produced two nice sized fillets.
Fresh garlic is now in the shops. If you're unfamiliar with new season garlic, a whole head shared between two might seem like a lot, but it's not - it is much milder than the dried variety, especially after roasting.
Panzanella is normally a rough and ready affair, pungent with sharp and rustic flavours. But for this dish I've come over all elegant, omitting the capers and onion, adding the sweetness of roasted pepper, and chopping the ingredients into tiny dice.
I'd like to emphasise that you need really good olive oil for this - the best you can afford. Otherwise I'd suggest making the mash with potatoes, butter and milk , and frying the trout in butter instead of oil.
2 trout fillets, each cut in two
olive oil for frying
½ lemon for squeezing over
for the panzanella:
25g sourdough bread
1 roasted red pepper, peeled and de-seeded
6 cherry tomatoes, peeled and de-seeded
100mm length cucumber, peeled and de-seeded
12 black olives, stoned
a pinch of dried chilli flakes
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp red wine vinegar
4 basil leaves, cut into thin strips
for the garlic and bean mash:
1 head new season garlic
240g (drained weight) cooked cannellini beans (i.e. one 400g tin)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lemon
salt + black pepper
Cut the sourdough up into tiny dice and make into croutons - I prefer to roast rather than fry them. Cut up the red pepper, tomatoes, cucumber and olive flesh into equally small dice. Put everything into a bowl. Season and add a pinch of dried chilli flakes. Make a dressing with the olive oil and vinegar - easiest done in a small jar - and pour over the panzanella. Add the basil strips and stir.
Cut the top off the fresh garlic head (and trim the base, if necessary) and place on a small oven-proof dish. Heat the oven to 190C/170C fan and roast for 45 minutes to an hour, until lightly browned and soft. When cool enough to handle, squeeze out the paste from the cloves. Add this, the beans, the olive oil, the lemon juice and seasoning to a food processor bowl and whizz briefly. Taste - add more lemon juice and seasoning as required.
Season the fish pieces on both sides. Heat a frying pan until almost smoking. Cover the base with olive oil and add the fish, skin side down. Fry, pressing the fish down with a metal spatula, until the skin is golden brown, then flip and cook for a further 30 seconds. Squeeze over a little lemon juice and remove from the pan.
Place a mound of bean mash onto the centres of two plates. Rest two fish pieces on the top of each mound. Spoon the panzanella over and around the fish. drizzle with a little olive oil and serve.
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