RAINBOW TROUT AND GIANT COUSCOUS WARM SALAD
Looking at the calendar this morning gave me a true shock … How are we at the end of July already? Days and weeks are slipping away from me lately. I realised it had been a couple of weeks since I tested and refined my July recipe for Spurtle readers, so I decided today was the time to strap myself to a chair and finally type it all up – it is a good one!
Despite this summer not having been a particularly warm one so far (I still have my fingers crossed!), at this time of year I seem to naturally swap out out my meat intake in favour of more fish. I find this allows me to create lighter and more refreshing dinners, with a healthy serving of vitamins, iron, and potassium. As usual, I’ve tried to develop a recipe which features a seasonal ingredient – in this case, two lovely fillets of rainbow trout.
Trout fishing in Scotland is considered at its best from the end of May to the end of August, with June and July being particularly good months. Despite rainbow trout being a native Pacific species, it was first introduced in Britain in 1884; if you prefer something more autochthonous, I would suggest swapping the rainbow for brown or sea trout. I generally like to use rainbow trout because I particularly like the nuttier flavour, but you can use any fish fillet you like or have available – the spices and seasoning might just need a little adjustment to taste.—Giada
2 trout fillets (about 330g in total) (I used rainbow trout)
180g of fine green beans
200g of Jersey Royal potatoes
130–50g of giant couscous
500ml of vegetable (or fish) stock
2 tbsp of butter (I used dairy-free spread)
3 tbsp of plain yoghurt (I used soy yoghurt)
1 tbsp of yellow hotdog mustard (less for English; use grainy mustard if you wish)
½ tsp of smoked paprika
some freshly cracked pepper
some sea salt
some fresh thyme
1.) Wash the potatoes and put them in a medium saucepan. Cover with water, place on a medium to high heat, and bring to the boil. Once the water is boiling, add a handful of sea salt and leave to cook for approximately 25–30 mins. The cooking time will vary depending on the size of your potatoes – you’re looking for them to be soft enough for a fork/knife to easily skewer through, but they should still hold their shape. (TIP: Cooking them with their skin on will also allow them not to absorb too much water – I also particularly like my potatoes skin-on. If you prefer to remove the skin, I’d suggest doing this after the potatoes have been boiled and drained.)
2.) While the potatoes are cooking, you can prepare your green beans. Trim them and place them in a small pan of boiling water (lightly salted). Leave to boil for 4–5 mins. Drain and set aside.
3.) Now you can move on to preparing the dressing: put the yoghurt, mustard, and smoked paprika in a bowl and mix. Add a pinch of salt and pepper to taste.
4.) Once the potatoes are cooked, drain them and set aside so you can move on to the fish. In order to keep the fish moist, I’ve opted for a quick fry first and then a longer poaching. (TIP: If you usually cook your fish fillets in a different way, for example in the oven, then you can adjust this part of the recipe to suit your preference. You could also opt to use some leftover fillets that might have been cooked already, in which case you can skip this step altogether.)
5.) First things first: check that your fillets have been completely de-boned! Trout bones can be rather sneaky and with rainbow trout having a whiter flesh, it’s easy to miss them. (TIP: I find it easier to locate the bones by feeling with my finger and plucking them out with my [kitchen!] tweezers.) Once the fillets are ready, heat up some butter in a large frying pan (I’d suggest using a pan with high sides, as we will also add the liquid for poaching here.) Once the butter is almost completely melted, lightly salt the fish fillets and add to the pan. Fry the fish on a medium to high heat for 3–4 minutes, flipping the fillet halfway through. (I left the skin on for this recipe.)
6.) Once the fillets have coloured, lower the heat and add the stock to the pan so that the fillets are nicely covered. Add some sprigs of fresh thyme and cover tightly with a lid. Leave to poach slowly for 10–12 mins.
7.) While the fish is poaching you can prepare the couscous. I would normally try to infuse some extra flavour into it by adding ingredients. However, in this case, there is enough going on in the dish already, so I’ve opted for simply cooking according to packet instructions (i.e. boiling it for 6–8 mins in lightly salted water). Drain and set aside.
8.) In the last moments of poaching the trout, you can start putting together your other ingredients on a plate. I used the couscous as a bed, chopped and spread the potatoes over it and added the green beans. Once the fish is done poaching, add your fillets on top (they will probably fall apart, and that is perfectly OK!) and generously drizzle the mustard sauce over the dish. An optional dusting of black pepper and fresh thyme on top will give it a garnished look. I served it with some extra dressing on the side for an easy top-up.
If you don’t have giant couscous or would prefer something different, you can use chickpeas. I like to lightly warm up my chickpeas in the pan with a tiny bit of butter (or spread) and finish them with some black pepper.
For more recipes, visit my food blog HERE. If you end up giving this recipe a go, I would love to see a snap of it. Simply tag @giadasplate on Instagram or send me a DM. Happy cooking and buon appetito!