Monday, October 02, 2006


Champagne Trout

It isn't often in my tame little world that a whole fish appears and needs to be contended with.

I can remember exactly when the last time was in fact. Last year with my edgy Food Loop bondage experiements. (An item I am tickled to say I have used time and time, and time again.)

Anyway, the other day this fresh water friend found it's way into my kitchen and just begged to become dinner. (Well, intitially it was going to go into the smoker, then into some dip, but alas, I was half way home when I remembered my stove top smoker was way too high up on the shelf for me to bother with and I havent got a back yard version anymore. Or a back yard for that matter. Pout.)

Then again, all this just gave me an exciting excuse to bust out my shiny fish poacher. (A tragically space-hogging pan I never really should have purchased, but well, I did, so there you go.) It only gets used, I'd say on average, once every three years? But when it does...good things happen. Like this.

Due to an enormously egregious error in alcohol-consumption judgement the other night left me with (the horror!) a half full bottle of champagne, (I know, can you believe?) my only choice was to find it a recipe to meld in to...

I can't say it's the fastest dish ever, but it isn't too complicated either. Mostly, it's just a divine way to practice making your basic fish stock. Or as our French friends call it, fumet de poisson. Either or, right? As long as it results in dinner. And in this case, heavens, dinner tastes just like it was served on a silver platter. (Which it could be of course, depending on your personal serving platter selection...)

The flavor is light and just elegantly sublime. Anything made with Champagne is bound to be! The grapes can be left out if that doesnt appeal to you, but I love how they swell up and add their fresh juice to the broth. (But peaches! If you want to skip making the fumet, that's okay! Use a pre made stock. No worries!)

So try this, and enjoy.

1 lb fish bones* (ask your fish monger)
1 teaspoon butter
1 teaspoon each chervil and tarragon (additional for garnish)
zest of one lemon
1 carrot, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1/2 small onion, diced
1/2 cup flat sparkling wine or dry white wine

1 large (2#) trout
Tarragon, chervil and parsley
1 cup flat Champagne or dry white wine
1 carrot, sliced thin
1 onion, sliced into thin half moons
1 cup green grapes, halved

In a stock pot, melt the butter over a low flame and add the carrot, celery, fish bones, onion, wine and enough additional water to cover the bones. Simmer, VERY GENTLY (just below boiling) for 20 minutes. Add the herbs and simmer another 5 minutes. Turn off heat and let cool completely and let everything settle to the bottom of the pot. Do not disturb. Using a ladle, strain through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth.

Preheat your oven to 300F

Wash your fish in cold water, inside and out. Stuff the cavity with the herbs and 1/2 the lemon zest. Place in your poacher and ladle in the fish stock. Add the additional wine and season with salt and pepper.

Poach for 20 minutes in the oven.

Remove the fish and the vegetables from the poacher, place on a plate. Remove the herbs from the fish and discard. Tent the plate with foil while you make the sauce.

Strain the remaining liquid into a large, shallow pan. Simmer over high heat with two pats of butter until reduced and slightly thickened., about four minutes.

Pour the sauce over the fish, garnish with additional herbs and serve.

Make enough for two (with leftovers)

*The fish bones should not be from an oily fish such as mackrel, but from salmon or trout.


To cook food simmered in a liquid, just below the boiling point

In 1999, then Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman proclaimed October as National Popcorn Poppin’ Month

Grapes come in more than 50 varieties in black, blue, blue-black, golden, red, green, purple, and white colors with a juicy pulp inside

Huh. Two grape recipes in two weeks! LOL. I must be going grapey.

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Fish poacher sounds like an ultimate unitasker ;)
i must have these foodloops! fish looks fantastic!
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