Trout with bacon
Published May 21st 2011
A very nice, tasty and easy way of preparing a trout or a small salmon.
This course requires a whole fish. The ideal size is around 2-4 lbs. or 1-2 kilos. That's about a 20-25 inch or 50-65 centimeters fish. A 2 lbs. fish will serve three people, maybe four if they aren't too hungry, but just barely. A 2 kilos fish will easily serve four hungry grownups, and take nicely care of six people.
The fish needs to be cleaned and freed from blood and scales. You can leave the head on but remove the gills, which makes for a very nice presentation when the fish is served, but you can also cut off the whole head and tail to make a more compact package. Your choice.
Apart from the fish you will need:
- Lean, diced bacon, a couple of hundred grams per kilo fish or 3-4 ounces per lb. I usually buy a whole piece and cut it myself.
- Carrots, a couple per kilo fish depending on size of the carrots.
- Celery, a stalk or two per kilo fish.
- Other firm vegetables according to taste. I often use parsley root or celery root, even string beans, but I rarely use onions. I have been known to add some chopped, dried tomatoes in oil.
- A lemon for zest and slices.
- Rice, to serve the number of persons at the table.
- Salted butter, 250 grams or 9-10 ounces.
- Parsley, a nice bunch.
- Salt and pepper.
The fish needs to be clean and dry. Remove the blood from the large blood vessel in the inside back of the fish if it hasn't been done. Cut along the spine inside the fish and scrape out the coagulated blood with a small spoon. Fish from the sea or fresh sea run fish need to have the scales scraped off if they have loose scales. Use a sharp knife and scrape against the scales under running water.
Dry the fish with a cloth or paper and place it on a large piece of tin foil.
Prepare the bacon and vegetables.
Fry the bacon dices in a frying pan. It shouldn't go all hard and brown, but take color. Leave the fat in the pan and add a bit of oil if the bacon is really lean. Use a bit of tomato oil if you are adding dried tomatoes in oil.
While the bacon fries you cut the vegetables in the same size as the bacon and add it to the pan with a little salt and some pepper. Fry the whole thing for about five more minutes and add the rest of the grated lemon zest and chopped, dried tomatoes as the last ingredients. I had some boiled potatoes that I chopped and added as the last step for the filling. The variation is endless.
Pour the warm mix into the fish. It will most likely not fit in there, so just let it spill outside on the foil.
Slice the lemon and squeeze the slices over the fish and place them on the skin along its side. Sprinkle a bit of salt over the fish and lemon slices. Bear in mind that the bacon can be quite salty, so don't overdo it.
Wrap the foil tightly around the fish, pushing the filling into the fish as best possible. You may have to add more foil to make it really tight. The tighter it is, the less fish juice you will have leaking out on your baking plate.
Place the package on a baking plate and put it in the middle of an oven preheated to about 200 deg. C or about 400 deg. F. The fish will need 30-45 minutes depending on its size and let it rest for 10-15 minutes under a cloth before serving.
Cook rice according to taste and recipe to be finished at the same time as the fish.
Bring the whole package to the table and open the foil while the guests are watching. Remove the lemons and skin the fish by cutting along the lateral line, lifting and scraping the skin away from this center line using a table knife and your fingers- Have a wet cloth nearby. The skin is usually very sticky. You can then lift the meat off the bones in suitable chunks. People who detest bones get from the tail end, people who are more tolerant get from the front. Skip the thin meat on the fishes belly if there's enough. It's the least interesting and has the most bones.
Use a spoon to scoop the bacon, vegetables and the juice over the rice and add a bit of lemon butter on top. For the other side of the fish, you simply lift the bones (the whole skeleton, actually) from the meat, and then lift the meat off the lower side skin.
Serve with freshly squeezed lemon, maybe some fresh bread and a chilled white wine.