4 Medium Carrots
1 Tbsp Butter
1/4 Tsp Salt
1 cup Heavy Cream
1 Star Anise Pod
1 Stick of Cinnamon
1 Bay Leaf
1 Sprig of Rosemary
1/8 Tsp Ground Ginger
1/8 Tsp Ground Clove
1/8 Tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/8 Tsp Ground Red Pepper
Salt to taste (I used 1/2 tsp)
1/4 cup of Water
1-3 Fuji Apples
1 Tbsp Chopped Rosemary
1 Tbsp Coconut Oil
1 Tbsp Butter
2 Rainbow Trout Fillets
This recipe can be modified based on the ingredients you have available. If you don't have all of the spices I used feel free to use what you have. Add a little and taste. You can use canola oil if you don't have coconut oil.
Apples and other produce contain polyphenol oxidase. When an apple is sliced the cells release polyphenol oxidase, it reacts with the oxygen in the air which causes the surface of the fruit to brown. The Vitamin C, or absorbic acid, from lemon juice will react with the oxygen before it gets a chance to react with the polyphenol oxidase, thus preventing browning.
There are times when you may have an idea for a great dish that will be very tasty. You pack up your expectations and go to the market only to find the ingredients you want are not in season or not available. This is what happened to me this weekend. I went looking for corn and halibut, but I ended up leaving with carrot and rainbow trout. Carrot and rainbow trout are great ingredients, but when you have your mind set on a dish it can be a challenge to create an entirely new dish, but it can be done.
Set rainbow trout fillets aside. This will allow them to rise to room temperature while you prepare the other components of the dish. If your fillets are already sectioned and deboned, good for you! If not this is the time to cut the fish in half, remove the spine and all of the pin bones. Score (make shallow cuts) the skin side of the fish at 1 inch apart.
Wash, peel and slice carrots into 1/4 inch slices. Melt butter on medium heat in a saucepan. When the butter is melted and begins to bubble add the carrots, 1/4 tsp of salt and cook for 3 minutes. A small amount of salt is added in this step to draw juices from the carrots not to season. Stir the carrots a few times.
I added the spices after I puréed the carrots, but it maybe be better to add the spices here to improve the texture of the purée.
Add the cup of cream, star anise pod, cinnamon stick and sprig of rosemary to the pot. Reduce heat slightly, a bit above medium low and cook the carrots for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally. Pierce carrots with a knife to check their doneness. If the knife sinks into the carrot with easy then they are ready. If you feel resistance cook for a couple more minutes and check again.
While the carrots are cooking juice the lemon into a small bowl and add water. Peel the Fuji apples and slice in half, avoiding the core. Take a round cookie cutter and cut the apple half into a circle. Slice the apple into 1/8 inch slices and submerge them in the lemon water. The lemon water will prevent the apples from browning. The apples will also absorb the lemon flavor which pairs well with the fish.
Strain the carrots through a sieve, reserve the cream. Discard the star anise pod, cinnamon stick and rosemary sprig. Purée the carrots in a food processor along with the ginger, clove, cinnamon and red pepper. Once the carrots resemble small chunks, continue to puree and slowly drizzle in the reserved cream. Return to saucepan and heat on low to keep warm.
If you own an immersion blender you can blend the carrots and cream together in the saucepan.
Take your fillets and pat them dry with a paper towel. Generously season them with salt, moderately sprinkle red pepper (you can use black pepper if you prefer) and rosemary. Be sure to season the skin side as well. Heat coconut oil in a cast iron skillet on medium high heat. When the oil shimmers it is ready. If you're not sure if the oil is hot enough touch the fish to the pan. If it sizzles, it's ready. Place the fish skin side down and cook for 3 minutes. Add the butter and flip the fish, cooking for an additional 2 minutes. Remove the fish from the pan and set aside on a plate.
Now this is the moment of truth. You have to plate the food beautifully and quickly so it arrives at the table stunning and hot. Spoon the carrot purée onto a long plate in a long line. The length of the line should be slightly longer than the fish. Take the sliced apple, pat them dry with a paper towel and place them on the purée in a straight line. They should overlap one another like the scales of a fish. Place the fish on the apples, but it should be slightly off center so you can see the apples poking out beneath the fish. The apples gives the fish a surface to stand on so the purée doesn't make the skin soggy. I garnished my fish with some fried scallions (fry scallions in oil on medium heat for a couple of minutes).
The rainbow trout is a nicely flavored fish and the lemon soaked apples add that familiar fish and lemon combination that we are all familiar with, with a touch of sweetness. The flavor carrot purée marries well with the apple and fish.