When it comes to cooking seafood for a crowd, little can be more impressive than a whole roasted trout. Not as debt-incurring as imported salmon, farmed ocean trout is an affordable alternative – sans the extreme carbon footprint. A deliciously light and fresh dish ideal for summertime feasting, this recipe for whole roasted trout with potatoes, asparagus and soft-boiled egg makes sustainable farmed ocean trout the star.
Late last year I was approached by Maldon Salt to develop a recipe using their iconic salt flakes and never have I been more excited for a collaboration! Maldon is one of those quintessential ingredients that have been part of my life since late childhood. Picture this – it’s 1999 and my mother has become an overnight fan of Jamie Oliver in his The Naked Chef TV series. All of a sudden we have additions to our suburban South African kitchen like a butchers block, granite mortar and pestle and yes, a prized box of Maldon salt. Ever since I’ve been scattering, pinching and crushing it over everything from sliced tomatoes to vanilla ice cream.
A product of the coastal town of Maldon in the UK county of Essex, the distinctive pyramid-shaped salt flakes have been cultivated since 1882. In 2012, Maldon Salt received a royal warrant from Queen Elizabeth, and late last year, the salt stalwart launched brand new packaging for both the regular and smoked varieties that mimics the seasoning’s recognisable shape.
For my trout recipe, I sourced this beautiful big ocean trout (sustainably farmed on the Cape West Coast) from my favourite seafood supplier – Greenfish. Founded by brothers Ryan and Andrew, Greenfish supplies seafood to the greater Cape Town area and their quality is unsurpassed. Arriving packaged neatly in a watertight bag with ice packs to keep the fish cold, my trout was bright-eyed and sea-scented. Exactly how one wants fish to be. Naturally high in Omega 3 fatty acids, trout is a flavoursome fish that works perfectly with zesty lemon and the verdant lushness of dill and mint. The fish can be enjoyed either flaked into the salad or as a main meal with potato salad on the side.
Prep time: 25 mins /Cook time: 40 mins /Serves: 6-8
You will need:
- 1x 2-3kg farmed ocean trout, cleaned
- 4 sprigs of fresh mint
- 4 sprigs of fresh dill
- 2 lemons, sliced
- Maldon salt
- Coarse ground black pepper
- Olive oil
For the potato salad:
- 700g baby potatoes, boiled and halved
- 4 sprigs of fresh mint, finely chopped
- 4 sprigs of fresh dill, finely chopped
- 150g asparagus spears, steamed and chopped into bite-size sections
- 1 small fennel bulb, finely chopped
- 3-4 celery sticks, finely chopped
- 3-4 radishes, finely chopped
- 150ml thick Greek yoghurt
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- Half a lemon, juiced
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives plus extra to garnish
- Maldon salt
- Coarse ground black pepper
- 6-8 large free-range eggs
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Brush a little olive oil all over the trout and season inside the cavity with a sprinkle of Maldon salt and black pepper. Stuff the fish with the mint, dill and lemon slices and lay it flat on a lined baking sheet. Season the trout’s skin with more salt and pepper and roast the fish in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until the skin is crispy and the flesh is flaking. Butterfly the fish open and remove the spine, head, and tail. Discard the aromatics and flake the fillets, taking care to remove any bones. Set aside the flaked fish until needed.
Fill a small pot with water and set over high heat. Once boiling, lower the eggs into the water and cook for 8 minutes. Once cooked, drain the pot and cover the eggs with cold water to prevent them from cooking any longer. Set the eggs aside to be peeled and halved when needed.
In a large bowl, combine the boiled potatoes with the chopped herbs, asparagus, fennel, celery, and radishes. In a separate bowl, mix the yoghurt, mayonnaise, lemon juice and chives and season the dressing with a pinch of Maldon salt and grind of black pepper.
Add the flaked trout to the bowl with the potatoes and pour the dressing. Gently combine the salad and divide across 6-8 plates. Scatter a few extra chopped chives over the top of each serving and top with two halves of the soft-boiled eggs. Add a final scatter of Maldon salt over the eggs and serve the trout salad with glasses of chilled Rosé.