Anne Desjardins, anc. chef propriétaire L'Eau à la Bouche, Québec, Canada
Cooking: None Marinating: Allow 30-45 minutes for a small trout fillet and up to several hours for a large fish - it is the thickness, not the weight, which will determine the marinating time. Be careful: you have to monitor the process closely as described below. This recipe can be adapted for salmon - since its flesh is thick, it will take up to 18 hours
In France and other European countries, they use fine salt, but I stick to my grandmother's method of using a mixture of coarse salt and brown sugar, which provides the flavour I am looking for.
You can add herbs according to your taste - branches of rosemary, dill or other herbs with a strong, assertive scent; don't use herbs whose flavor fades quickly (like basil), or those that are too mild, like parsley.
This recipe is prepared without any liquid, but for Scotch lovers, 2 or 3 spoonfuls of your best Scotch will impart a distinctive note to the dish - the alcohol evaporates and acts on the fish "dry," which would not be the case with fruit juice or even wine, whose alcohol content is not high enough to evaporate.
In the old days, this recipe allowed fish to be kept for 7 to 10 days in the refrigerator when there had been a good catch.
For a more elaborate presentation, garnish the plate with a bouquet of dill, corn sprouts and julienned endive.
- In a bowl, mix equal quantities of the coarse salt and brown sugar;
- line the bottom of a plastic container; place the trout fillets on top and cover with the mixture;
- cover the container with plastic wrap; place a weight on top to accelerate the process;
- remove the trout from the marinade as soon as the mixture shows the slightest sign of wetness - otherwise the fish will become too salty, its flesh will toughen and you will lose all the subtlety of the dish;
- rinse the fish under running water;
- place on a clean cloth to dry it - never use paper towels.
- Roll up each trout half tightly into a rosette shape;
- divide the cucumber "spaghetti" among four plates, forming a nest in the centre;
- place the marinated trout on top;
- add a little cucumber vinaigrette to the trout and serve.
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