Good fish cooked on the bone needs little except a bit of acid (here from the lemony flavour of sheep sorrel, a fiddle-shaped weed we find in our garden; you can substitute regular sorrel or lemon). I’ve dressed it up with the buttery, toasty flavour of pine nuts and a bit of fresh-tasting tomato sauce.
- 60 ml (¼ cup) extra virgin olive oil
- 1 bay leaf
- 160 g (⅔ cup) tomato passata
- 2 cups sorrel (see Note), or 1 lemon, thinly sliced
- 4 whole trout, cleaned
- 50 g (⅓ cup) pine nuts, lightly toasted
- chargrilled zucchini and mint salad, to serve (optional)
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a frying pan over low heat, then add the bay leaf and passata. Cook the sauce, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes to release the flavour of the bay leaf. Set tomato sauce aside and keep warm.
Place a few sorrel leaves inside the cavity of each fish. Brush well with remaining 1 tbsp olive oil and season with salt inside and out. (I like black pepper, too, but not everybody does with fish.) Using a fish grill, barbecue or frying pan, cook fish over medium heat for 8 minutes each side or until just cooked through — when done, the fish should flake gently at the fattest part when pressed with your finger.
Serve the grilled trout with the tomato sauce and pine nuts, the chargrilled zucchini and mint salad, if desired, and perhaps a plate for the bones if you’re eating at home.
• Sorrel is available from selected greengrocers.
Photography by Alan Benson.