Monday, March 28, 2011

Sustainable Rainbow Trout Loaf, Creamed Sunchokes, Green Beans with Rainbow Trout Gravy

Welcome to this month's 5 Star Foodie Cooking Group.  This month's theme is sustainable fish.  Wonder who picked that one?!  Thank you Natasha for being a marvelous partner in this endeavor.

Sustainable fish is an extremely important topic to me.  I have written extensively on the subject for LC and Blogcritics.

Now the question is do you really give a shit?  Well, do you?  Sometimes I feel like I am farting into the wind with this stuff.  I write and write endless posts about sustainability and only a handful of you ever say anything about it.  I know who you are.  The rest, ask yourselves dear cooks, when you put your hard earned money down at the market, what exactly are you supporting?

Here's a simple math equation using a very popular endangered fish Chilean Seabass.

Demand = severe overfishing
Slowly maturing fish = low supply

severe overfishing + low supply = soon no more fucking's that simple.

And that's just one example of one species of fish, trust me, there are many many more out there.

If you would like further information on sustainability and sustainable fish here are some resources…

U.S. Farmed Rainbow Trout is a "Best Choice" according to the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch.  I am not talking about the fish grandpa' catches in the lake, I am talking fish raised in pristine waters of Idaho, away from pollution.  If you are thumbing your nose at rainbow trout right now, without even trying it, I'd say grow up and expand your palate.

The only way to pay proper respect to the animal that gave it's life for my sustenance was to use every bit of it.  So, head and body for stock to make gravy, flesh for the loaf, and the skin for a crackling.  Sadly the crackling was so good that it did not make the post, as the lawyer and I devoured it.  Sorry!

Organic Sunchokes, also know as Jerusalem artichokes, are the tubular root of a sunflower.  They can be eaten raw or cooked.  They simply are amazing, whether sliced thinly in a salad, or creamed as in this dish.

Sustainable Rainbow Trout Loaf, Creamed Sunchokes, Green Beans with Rainbow Trout Gravy

For the Rainbow Trout Loaf:
10 oz Rainbow Trout trimmings
2 garlic cloves – grated
1 leek (white & light green parts only) – small chop
1 tsp Meyer lemon – juice & zest
1 egg – beaten
1/3 cup of whole milk
Sea salt
White pepper
½ cup cracker meal
Center cut bacon strips

In a bowl, combine the trout, garlic, leeks, lemon, egg, milk, salt & pepper.  With a rubber spatula gently fold to combine.  Add the cracker meal.  Fold to combine.  Roll into a loose log.

Using aluminum foil, roll the log into a tight package.  Squeeze the ends of the foil to lock in place.  Fridge for 20 minutes.

Lay out another sheet of aluminum foil, and lay enough bacon strips to cover the length of the loaf.  Remove the loaf from the foil and add to the center of the bacon.  Roll the loaf into another tight package, making sure the bacon completely covers it.  Fridge for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Remove the trout loaf from the foil.  Put it on a baking sheet.  Bake for 35 to 40 minutes.  Do not overcook.  It will dry out.

Remove from the oven, and allow resting on a wire rack for 10 minutes.  Slice into 1 ½ thick inch wheels.

For the Rainbow Trout Stock:
Safflower oil
4 smoked bacon strips – cut into lardons
2 rainbow trout bodies with heads.
1 white onion – small dice
1 russet potato – scrubbed & cut into small dice

Spice Mix – all whole
Black peppercorns
Fennel seeds
All spice
3 Bay leaf

In a stockpot, heat safflower oil over medium heat.  Add the bacon, cook until crisp and rendered.  Add the onion, potato, trout bodies, and spice mix.  Bring to a simmer.  Do not allow to boil.  Simmer for 2 hours.  Skim any foam scum that rises to the surface.  Strain through a fine mesh strainer.  Stock will keep for 7 days in the fridge.  Stocks also freeze very well.

For the Rainbow Trout Gravy:
4 cups Rainbow trout stock
1 tbs unsalted butter
1 tbs all purpose flour

In a small saucepan, bring the trout stock to a simmer.  Reduce by half.  In a saute pan, melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the flour.  Mix well to combine.  Cook to a light blond color.  Incorporate the roux into the stock.  Cook for a few minutes to incorporate and thicken.  Remove from heat.

For the Creamed Sunchokes:
2 cups sunchokes - sliced thin on a mandoline
Whole milk
2 garlic cloves - minced
1 shallot - minced
sea salt
white pepper
2 tbs unsalted butter

In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the sunchokes, garlic, shallot.  Cook for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.  Pour enough milk to cover the sunchokes.  Lower the heat and simmer until tender.

If you require a tutorial for blanching green beans, just get a take-away.

That's it for now...till we exchange a few words again...Peace!


  1. The trout we catch is caught in pristine waters in beautiful brooks here in NH . Some of our waters in the higher country is the purest in the state. :) But the price of fishing licenses is outragous! This is a gorgeous dish, i can just imagine the combo of bacon and trout.. !!

  2. What a great combo Laz, it also reminds me I need to make trout...we fish in local rivers here in NJ, so we have trout pretty much every weekend of April!

    You dish looks the bacon touch!

  3. Hi Lazaro - terrific theme for this month's makeover. (I'll be posting on Thursday).

    There are so many things I like about your trout loaf: the layering of flavors and textures, the bacon wrap, and the trout gravy (genius!).

    Thanks for hosting this event I'm really enjoying it!

  4. I am loving everthing about this dish: the nuances of smoky bacon and creamy sunchokes with the trout; just spectacular.
    Thanks for increasing awareness on such an important topic---just posted my piece.

  5. We have some lovely trout farms upstate NY in clear waters... they are quite good and sold at the farmer's market in NYC. Great dish with so many good flavors. Sunchokes are so underused and it's a shame because they have such a lovely sweet flavor. I have never done a fish gravy before... I'm trying to figure how to work that in with the salmon I have this week!

    Thanks again for the 5 Star cooking event... so much fun to do and for a great cause... our choices at the market have consequences... buying intelligently is good for us... and the planet. I salute your passion for getting the message out, Lazaro!

  6. Beautiful dish! Great flavour combinations and very pretty presentation.
    Haha, I remember years ago, my best mate and I decided we were going to go camping and catch us some trout.... easier said than done.... We were rained out, a terrifying night of mudslides and tents moving precariously to close to the water, rods popped in the water for hours... not even a nip at the lines. We gave up... about an hour from where we were camping/fishing, we came across a trout farm.... We popped in and within minutes we had snagged a trout or 4. We proudly took our catch home and boasted to all about our catch. LOL.
    Im loving this information, very informative. :)

  7. Wonderful dish, In my area we focus alot on local shrimp, rainbow trout would be hard to find here, but I appreciate the info, we are currently in lenten season and fish is usually eaten on fridays, but my chocies are limited and most are from China, so I focus on beans, alot of beans, lol
    thanks for caring,

  8. this- is inspiring me to give trout another look. I was fed a steady diet of overcooked, dried out, bony rainbow trout as a kid..Haven't had it once as an adult. Love the bacon wrap and the sunchokes!

  9. Your post always put a smile on my face. You remind me of David Chang: straightforward and honest. I do give a shit! :) and i like you equation. There won't be fucking fish!

    Anyway, that is a beautiful trout. I wish I know how to cut and fillet whole fish. The loaf looks fantastic and great choice with bacon. Creamed sunchocked sound simple but full with flavors. Kodos for this dish and thanks for reminding all of us about sustainable fish!

  10. That is what I like about your dishes, simple but flavorful.

    I will be back hopefully with a new blog in a month's time and will let you know when its published. Laz thanks for your support and as always will continue to enjoy your posts.

  11. Yes, Lazaro, we are listening. I have a list at hand and pay attention to it as well. Keep talking.

    I had an interesting experience with sunchokes....have been meaning to post about it. As with all things, they certainly should be eaten with moderation. (I found to my dismay after I scarfed down a ton of them.)

    I spent most of my young life fishing for Northern Pike in the Great Lakes and Georgian Bay. We'd catch and eat the same day. Now, it's
    recommended that big pike must be released to maintain a sustainable high pike stock. Always important to keep up with what we should be catching and eating.

  12. I give a shit and quit buying Alaskan halibut and Chilean seabass, as well as farm-raised salmon for the most part. I grew up on trout and lake-caught fish and pan-fried trout almandine was one of my favorites as a kid - I know, boring! But this is why I come and visit you! I have a Pacific halibut that I'd like to throw into the mix, too. Thanks to you and Natasha for hosting this event and continuing to raise awareness.

  13. love this post, b/c of course we do listen and click on links you share. they have information i'd not necessarily think to look up. in my line of work i have to be a conscious provider of well-balanced and respectable foods, so any imparted information works. Love that you used everything, from the roota to the toota! (Friday!?!--anyone!?) Y la crema me'ncanta! Nice job!

    Figuring mine out now, at the 11th hour, of course!

  14. Absolutely fabulous, sans the bacon for me but not my family...You know I care about sustainability and organics as well. I bet many do that just don't know enough yet to respond. You just keep pushing :) Stunning dish my friend!

  15. Laz, what I don't understand is this: if certain fish like Chilean seabass are so overfished, WHY do they keep selling them? Why is there not a moratorium on them? Maybe I'm just naive, I know it comes down to money and profit but it all seems so shortsighted to me. And this is not news about the Chilean seabass, heard about it years ago and yet, there is it in the grocery store fish case, on the menu at the restaurant.

    I love the whole trout and bake it in a salt crust and it's divine. Thanks for bringing me back to look at your dish again and for the advice on the sunchokes, I MUST try them! Keep preaching, brother Laz, some of us are listening! x

  16. Ah yes, the politics of food - most every food choice we make (and not just the fish on our plate) has an impact, be it on fish stocks, on farming, on local economies, or on our health and wellbeing. Somebody else who gives a shit about fish and who is getting people in the UK and Europe to sit up and listen is Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall ( He's not just addressing the question of sustainability but of trying to end the madness that is thousands of fish being thrown back into the sea, dead, due to the workings of the EU quota system. Crazy stuff. It was a lot simpler when my brother went and caught some local trout when I was a kid. Looking at this recipe, it's probably a good time to go and have me some trout again.

  17. You are SO right about using the whole animal - it is really a sign of respect. Props to you for that. I loved this sustainable fish topic, and I'm so happy to see all of the creative interpretations. And not for one second would I thumb my nose at rainbow trout - not a chance! Love this dish, and sunchokes are indescribably good - your creamed version is calling me.


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