I have a confession to make: I'm squeamish about fish. Not eating fish; I'm perfectly happy to eat it, including the gloopy jarred gefilte fish almost none of my friends can stand. And I rather enjoy cooking fillets. But I can't deal with a whole fish. First of all, in order to even cook it, you have to gut it, which is always a big bloody mess that makes your kitchen reek for weeks afterwards. I don't usually have a problem with blood; I eat my meat rare, or saignant [literally, bloody]. So maybe it's fish blood. I don't like fish blood.
But today I went to a market in search of fresh spinach and passed by a fish stand. The little pink trouts were so cute--just the right size for a meal for one. And they were inexpensive. Since Davey's in Amsterdam until tomorrow and the Boy is back in the States for a few weeks, it was just me for dinner tonight. And when I'm not feeding anyone but myself, I'm always more inclined to experiment. I decided to go for it and bought one trout, asking the saleswoman to "la vider, s'il vous plait [literally, to empty it out]." I brought the gutted fish home and it lay in its blue plastic bag in my fridge until I mustered up the courage to deal with it.
When I finally took it out of its bag, I almost hid it back in the fridge. There was blood everywhere, slowly dripping out of the hole in its stomach. But I rinsed it under cold water, convinced myself that it wasn't actually still bleeding, and set about making dinner.
You know what? It was delicious. I served it with my spinach and a thick slice of pain de campagne, also from the market.
Truite rose envelopee de la poitrine fumee et farcie par le romarin
(based on a recipe at Food Network.)
1 whole pink Trout, cleaned
Salt and Black Pepper
1 sprig fresh Rosemary
3 slices Bacon
1/2 Lemon, sliced
Pre-heat broiler. If, like me, you don't have one, simply raise the rack of your oven so a glass baking dish will be close to the heat source. Then set the heat to about 300 C.
Dry Trout with paper towels and rinse off any residual blood. Stuff Salt and Pepper into the cavity, along with the Rosemary. Salt and Pepper the outside of the Trout and wrap three slices of Bacon around it.
Put the Trout in a glass baking dish and broil for 5 minutes. Flip the Trout, being careful not to let the Bacon fall off. Broil for another 2 minutes. Add Lemon slices to pan, lower heat to 250 C (if not using a broiler) and cook 2 more minutes, until Bacon and skin of Trout are crispy and Trout is cooked through. Serve.