I’m a fish lover, I’d go as far as to say that I’m a pescatarian…..almost. I can’t think of a fish that I don’t like, but sea trout is my current favourite oily fish. With its sweet, delicate flesh, I think it pairs beautifully with peas and asian flavours. Fresh peas in season are the perfect choice however I’ve used frozen in this recipe, they’re so handy to have in the freezer to add to risottos or make soup with, when fresh are unavailable.
This dish is surprising quick to make, yes it’s pretty much last minute but on the other hand if you have all your ingredients ready before you start to cook, it’s effortless. A heavy based cast iron pan is the perfect choice for cooking the sea trout in and all fish fillets in fact. It retains its heat really well and if you look after the pan, it maintains a natural non-stick surface.
But first, please choose the freshest fish you can find. I am fortunate enough to source my fish straight from Grimsby, once a week. Here are some pointers.
How to choose really fresh fish;
- It should have a sea-fresh smell, not an unpleasant fish odour.
- The skin should be moist, really fresh fish feels slightly slippery.
- Look for neat, trimmed fillets with firm flesh.
- White fish should have a white translucent colour with no discolouration.
- If you’re buying whole fish look for clear, bright eyes, not sunken and bright red gills.
Finally, fresh fish should be used as soon as possible, but it can be stored overnight. Rinse, pat dry, cover and store towards the bottom of the fridge.
I think this healthy and vibrant spring dish works very well with salmon, cod and monkfish too. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
Seared Sea Trout with Pea & Lemongrass Velouté
- 4 x 140g pieces sea trout fillets
- 750 ml chicken or vegetable stock
- 425 g frozen peas thawed on a tray, in a single layer
- 1 small onion finely chopped
- 2 lemongrass stalks outer layer removed and finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 Tbls minced ginger
- 2 Tbls sunflower oil or butter
- 50 ml coconut milk
- Handful of mint leaves blanch in salted water, then run under a cold tap immediately.
- 2 handfuls of baby spinach leaves
- 2 pak choi washed and cut in half.
- 1 lime cut into quarters
- Salt and white pepper to taste
- Garnish with a few cooked peas and mint.
- Begin with making the veloute. In a saucepan, heat the sunflower oil or 1 tablespoon of butter, add the onion and lemongrass then saute, without colour for a few minutes. Now add the minced ginger and garlic, cook on a low heat for a minute or 2, being careful not to burn the garlic. Now add the stock, bring to a rapid boil, then add the peas, bring back to the boil, then immediately remove from the heat and blend in a high speed blender. Once blended add the spinach, blanched mint and coconut milk, blend again until it’s really smooth. Pass through a sieve if you want it really smooth. Season to taste and chill quickly to keep the intense green colour if you’re not using it immediately. Otherwise pour into a saucepan, ready to heat.
- Now to cook the sea trout. Have a heavy based, cast iron pan ready on the hob, on a medium-high heat. add a little sunflower oil. Season the fish on both sides. Place the fillets skin side down in the pan. Now timings will vary due to the thickness of the fillet. The idea is to cook the fish approximately 70% of the time on the skin side, this prevents the fish drying out. Also if you like your sea trout slightly under done like me you’re going to have to watch the pan carefully. As the fish cooks you will see the colour of the flesh changing. When its two thirds cooked, flip it over and turn the heat OFF. Leave for 30-60 seconds. Remove from the pan and place on a warm plate and pop in the oven on 100°C while you cook the pak choi.
- Place the pak choi in the cast iron pan, cut side now on a medium high heat with a drizzle of oil and season. Sear for 30 seconds then add a few splashes of water and cover with a lid or baking sheet. Steam for a minute or 2. Remove from the heat. Heat the veloute and serve a ladle full in bowls. Place the sea trout in the bowl with the pak choi and peas and a few mint leaves. Serve with lime wedges.
- Don’t add any lime juice to the pea velouté before serving, you want that fresh burst of citrus on the fish and sauce just as you eat it.
- Substitute mint with Thai basil as an alternative.