Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Feeling Fishy

While I haven't been packing a lot of lunches lately I have been cooking a few dinners, many of which are centered around fish.  I learned recently that my Aunt Laura in Rochester reads my blog and likes when I mention fish recipes so in lieu of a lunch, I am going to blog about dinner.  Hi Aunt Laura!

The other night we had Mahi Mahi.  It was really warm here in Los Angeles and my husband likes to cook on the grill when it's hot out so we don't do anything to further heat up the house.  The Mahi Mahi was delicious and super easy to cook.  All we did was salt and pepper the fish, brush on a little bit of olive oil, squirt some lemon on top and throw the pieces on the grill.  We paired the fish with red onion and summer squash skewers which were a great addition to the meal and cooked just as easily on the grill.

Tonight I undertook a more complicated fish recipe.  Inspired by the Glee original song "Trouty Mouth" and the fact that I had trout at a restaurant for lunch the other day, I looked up a recipe I used to cook years ago before I had a child and definitely did not appreciate my spare time enough.

Back in my days of working in television news I used to have both a computer and a television on my desk.  This came in handy during breaking news situations when I wanted to be on top of the latest details from a press conference or needed to see a piece of footage being fed in from the field via satellite.  It was equally as handy when I wanted to procrastinate ala playing a game of solitaire on the computer.  So, when I was supposed to be listening to a morning conference call, I was really mostly watching the Martha Stewart Show on NBC.  I'm so glad I did as I got so many wonderful recipes from that program (one day I will share the red velvet cake recipe I got from a guest on the show).  On one particularly slow news day I watched Wolfgang Puck prepare a beautiful butterflied trout in lemon caper butter that I tried to replicate this evening.

I have cut and pasted the recipe below or you can click here to print it.

This recipe is not easy though there are ways to simplify it.  For example I have no idea why, but I had the patience tonight to supreme two lemons as the recipe calls for.  I usually don't have the patience and cutting thin lemon circles should do the trick.  For those of you who were not reared on the Food Network, to supreme a lemon you must first peel it (a frustrating task in itself) or cut off the rind and then cut in between the segments of the lemon to create about 10 pieces of pure lemon (no white pith) that are edible when cooked.  I am not sure if that description was helpful enough.  There are lots of videos like this one on Youtube that can teach you how to supreme a lemon.

I did not use croutons or white wine and I also don't think the recipe needs as much butter as is called for below (but that could be because I didn't make 4 butterflied trout; I made two whole fish for the adults and a half a fish for Juju).  Here is a photo of her plate, tail and all.  I paired the fish with easy to make millet and broccoli (something needed to be easy today).  The leftover sauce from the fish tasted great over the millet.  The recipe tells you to cook the fish with the head and tail intact but I asked my fishmonger to remove the head.  The last thing I need is for my nearly 3-year old to come eye to eye with her dinner (this 31-year old isn't too keen on the idea either).

Butterflied Trout in Lemon Caper Butter (courtesy of Wolfgang Puck)
Serving Size: 4
4 butterflied whole trout
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Flour, for dredging
Olive oil, for sautéing
2 tablespoons butter, plus 1 tablespoon
2 lemons, supremed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon capers
Toasted Croutons, recipe follows
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped parsley leaves 
  1. Lay out the trout so the skin side is down. Open the flesh like a book. With a sharp knife, carefully cut out the backbone, making sure to keep the fillets attached at the head and the tail. Season both sides of the trout with salt and pepper.
  2. Lightly dredge both sides of the trout with flour, shaking off any excess. Heat a large sauté pan over high heat. When the pan is hot, add enough olive oil to lightly coat the bottom of the pan. Heat the oil until it shimmers when swirled. Carefully add the trout, flesh-side down, starting at the tail and laying away from you towards the head. You may need to cook the trout in batches. Cook until golden brown on both sides, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove to a platter and keep warm.
  3. Once the trout is all cooked, return the pan to medium-high heat and remove all but 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add 2 tablespoons of the butter and cook just until it begins to brown and smell nutty, about 3 minutes. Add the capers, lemons, croutons, white wine, and lemon juice and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the remaining tablespoon of butter and remove from the heat. Stir in the parsley and pour over the trout.
Toasted Croutons:
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 (1/2-inch thick) slices white bread, crusts removed and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper 
  1. Heat a large sauté pan over high heat. Add the olive oil and heat. When the oil is hot, add the bread cubes and cook, stirring, until toasted and golden brown, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and cool.


  1. Too funny. I love that you were watching Martha Stewart in the news room...

  2. To be fair, I was the producer assigned to cover her trial a year or two earlier so I could easily explain my behavior away as research for a follow-up piece. . .