From pond to plate: The last of the summer trout

Deputy editor Tom Williams goes through how to cook a whole trout, the perfect sharing dish for the last weeks of summer.

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Photo: Tom Williams

Cooking a whole fish can sometimes be daunting, though it shouldn’t need to be. Simplicity is always undoubtedly the best way forward.

Although I am fortunate enough to have been able to catch all my trout myself, you will be able to pick up whole fish at your local fishmonger or supermarket this time of year. This has the added advantage of the fish being cleaned for you – the details of which I’ll spare you.

This dish is designed both for sharing and to ensure that as little of the fish goes to waste as possible. How many people rather depends upon the size of the fish. For example, a two lb trout will comfortably feed two people and so on and so forth.

Photo: Tom Williams

For this recipe you will need:

One whole cleaned trout.

Jersey Royals

Heritage tomatoes

Fennel

Sugar snaps

Tarragon

Dill

Lemon

Olive oil

White wine

Optional:

Sourdough and butter

Tartare sauce

Begin by pre-heating the oven to 220 degrees. You will then need to prep your vegetables for the baking tray, all of which can be loosely cut and placed in an oven tray lined with baking paper.

Ensure that the Jersey Royals are no more than 1cm thick, otherwise they will not cook all the way through.

Make sure to clean the trout under running water before it touches any other ingredients. Stuff the trout with thinly sliced lemon and a generous helping of tarragon and dill and place in the baking tray on top of the vegetables.

Add a splash of olive oil and season with salt and pepper before tossing the tray to give all the ingredients an even coating.

Photo: Tom Williams

The quantity of wine required rather depends upon how many people the dish is intended for. Cooking for two, I typically use roughly 175ml of wine (a medium glass), and pour all over.

Wrap the whole dish in baking paper so that it is completely covered and place in the oven for 25 minutes.

The trout will be fully cooked when the eyes are white and the flesh is pink.  Then peel away the skin and the fish is ready.

Serve with sourdough to soak up the sauce and tartare to compliment the fish, eat outside and enjoy the last of the summer while you can!

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