Pan-fried trout filets with Giada De Laurentiis’s pea puree.

Pan-fried trout filets with Giada De Laurentiis’s pea puree.

One skill I’m really working on in the kitchen right now is getting better with breaking down whole fish, but I will admit that if given the opportunity, I will still go with filets if they are available. This is particularly true with trout, because trout are small, have tons of pin bones , and can be a pain in the ass to clean neatly. (Maybe I just need to watch some YouTube tutorials to get better at it.)

Our schedules for the last month or so have been pretty wonky between travel and visiting family and more travel, so my normal shopping routines have been turned upside down. This means that I’ll find myself at the grocery store on a weekend (a rare occurrence since the pandemic started) and so if I’m there, I’ll get some fish for dinner since I know we’ll be eating it the next night if not that night itself. The Teet had some really good-looking trout filets on sale recently, and so I decided to pair them with a pea puree recipe from Giada De Laurentiis that I’ve kept on file in my head from back during her Everyday Italian days. I’ve referenced in the original iteration of this blog, but I feel like it’s time to give it a shoutout once again.

What I like about this dish is that it’s dead simple–you season the fish well on both sides with salt and pepper, cook it in a hot pan for a few minutes a side, and then place the finished filets on a bed of pea puree that you can make ahead of time and then let sit. Since the puree calls for frozen peas, it’s seasonally agnostic and very fast to bring together once you’ve defrosted the peas–all of the ingredients go into a food processor or a container that can hold a stick blender and blitz away until smooth.

I am a fan of how simple this is to make but also how refined it looks in presentation–it could easily be done as part of a dinner party menu, or even a quiet date night at home. It’s refreshing and light in the summer, and helps you think of warmer days in the middle of winter–what’s not to like?

Just be sure to have a hood/fan going, as pan-frying trout can get a little much at times.

Pan-fried trout with pea puree

Pea puree recipe lightly adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

Serves 4

  • 4 trout filets, pin bones removed
  • 2 TB olive oil (not extra virgin)
  • Kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper
  • 12 oz frozen peas, thawed via package directions
  • ¼ cup fresh mint leaves
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • Lemon wedges, for serving

To make the pea puree: combine the peas, mint, cheese, and a half-teaspoon each of kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper to a work bowl of a food processor or a container that can contain a stick blender. Pulse to bring everything together, and then drizzle in the olive oil so the puree becomes smooth. Set aside until ready to serve.

To make the fish: season both sides of each filet with kosher salt and black pepper. Add the olive oil to a medium to large skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Add the first two trout filets, skin side down, and cook for about 2-3 minutes before flipping and cooking the other side of the filets for 1-2 minutes (depending on thickness). Remove to a plate and cook the remaining filets. 

Divide the puree between four plates and place a filet on top of each, and serve immediately with lemon wedges.

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