I nearly fell over when I saw the gorgeous trout in the seafood department of New Seasons. I was beginning to think I wouldn't be able to find any whole fish anywhere - and then I'd have to learn to fish and then learn to gut & clean the fish...and that was beginning to seem like way too much effort. So I stumbled upon these beauties and snagged four of them for dinner.
This is one of my favorite ways to cook fish, and I haven't done it in years (lack of a grill, you understand). I made some sticky Jasmine rice with fried shallots & garlic to go with the fish. And as we sat down to eat, I had to give a little whole fish eating lesson to keith - remove the skin from the side that's up. Pull of the flaky white flesh, leaving the tiny little bones still attached to the spine. Flip the fish over and do the same to the other side. So much fun! It brought back such a wonderful memory of my first whole fish experience. I was 25 or so (granted, I'd fished - I'd had fish many times - but I'd never been served a whole fish at the table before this moment), and in Venice, Italy with my then-boyfriend Mark. We wandered into this tiny little restaurant that was completely off the beaten path (in other words, we were the only Americans and that was lovely). It was late afternoon and a little chill was in the air, so we stopped for a carafe of the house red wine. We sat and sipped wine, talking about the day and laughing with the bubble blonde woman who ran the place (likely the owner as well). At one point a man walked in with a basket and handed her a pile of fish - fresh caught from the sea. On top was a gorgeous monkfish. I pointed to it and said "prego?" - she giggled and nodded her head. 30 minutes or so later (and well into our second carafe) she brought it out to the table. She had steamed the fish and it was sitting on a bed of greens. She sat it down and had a big smile on her face. Mark cut the fish open and pulled out the spine and I was in heaven. All in all we sat at that restaurant for probably 4 hours eating and drinking. Lovely memory - delicious fish!
Grilled Whole Trout
1 -2 whole Trout per person, cleaned with heads on (preferably)
2 sprigs rosemary per piece of fish
2 lemon slices per piece of fish
**special tool: fish basket for grill
Salt and pepper the interior of the fish, then stuff in the rosemary and the lemon slices. Rub some olive oil over the skin of the fish on both sides and arrange them snugly in the grill basket. I also like to sprinkle a little salt over the skin as well. Place the basket on the grill, and cook for 6 - 8 minutes on each side (this really depends on how thick the fish is, keep a close eye - it will stay moist even if you overcook it slightly, so don't worry too much).