Back to the other day when I was wandering around aimlesslyshopping at Sprouts and I spotted that beautiful okra. I needed something to go with the fried okra that I thought I was going to make. Fish is always a healthy choice and I figured I would make some blackened salmon or maybe catfish. When I got to the fish counter, the trout jumped out at me. It looked fresher and while a bit more than the catfish, it was cheaper than the salmon. Plus we like trout.
My original thought was to do our Grilled Blackened Trout. We don’t like to do the traditional method of blackening inside our house. It get the house smokey, which in turn sets off the smoke alarm, which then freaks our dogs out causing them to either start barking or go into hiding. Not to mention makes the house smell. But with temperatures in the 20’s and me all nice and cozy in our warm house, lighting the Egg just did not seem to be in my future. So it was off to go scour the old interweb and see what kind of easy recipe I could find to go with our stewed okra and tomatoes.
In a medium bowl, combine lemon juice, Creole seasoning, garlic, parsley, green onions and oregano. Slowly whisk in olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Line a cookie sheet with foil and then place a wire rack on top. Spray the wire rack with PAM. Arrange the fillets on top and then brush with vinaigrette.
Broil 5-6 inches from heat until just cooked through, about 5 minutes or until temperature reaches 135F.
Serve with lemon wedges.
We really enjoyed this simple method for trout. Easy ingredients and total time from start to finish was under 10 minutes. By lifting the trout off the baking sheet and onto a wire rack, it allows the skin to crisp up a bit which is a plus in my book. And the trout paired really well with the stewed okra and tomatoes. I didn’t think that this recipe was going to be worthy of a post so I really didn’t work hard at the photos, but I was pleasantly surprised. I just wish I had taken better photos now. Oh well.
And please, please if you are going to eat seafood, don’t reach for that bottle of tartar sauce. Do yourself a favor and quickly whisk up a batch. It really does make a difference and takes very little effort on your part. This is one we really enjoy: Home Made Horseradish and Tarragon Tartar Sauce
Sticking with our current trend of trying to cook a bit healthier, I bring you our version of blackened trout. I say “our version” because we didn’t quite cook it the way it is supposed to be cooked.
For those unfamiliar with blackening, it is a cooking technique used in the preparation of fish and other foods. Often associated with Cajun cuisine, this technique was popularized by Chef Paul Prudhomme. For this technique, the seafood (or chicken) is dipped in melted butter, then liberally coated with a mixture of herbs and spices and then cooked in a very hot cast iron skillet. The seafood should have a brown-black crust that results from a combination of the browned milk solids of the butter and the charred spices.
While we could have gone that way, we opted to try and be a bit healthier by skipping the dredge in butter and instead lightly coated it in olive oil. Since the fat from the butter was omitted, I was afraid it might stick to a hot cast iron pan. Instead, I grilled it directly over open flame on a grill basket. It might not be truly authentic blackening and it might not be that much healthier, but it still tasted amazing! 🙂
And don’t get me started on the tartar sauce! That stuff should be illegal! I could eat it straight. In fact, I might have had a spoonful or two of it after I whipped it up. You won’t tell, will you? 😉 Do me a favor…toss out that jarred crap you have floating around somewhere in the back of your fridge and make your own. You can thank me later. Ok, let’s get started with the tartar sauce, since the longer you let it sit, the better it gets.
Horseradish and Tarragon Tartar Sauce
1/3 cup light mayonnaise
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1 to 3 tbsp of prepared horseradish, I’ll let you decide how spicy you want it
2 tbsp finely chopped red onion (**update yellow onion work better**)
2 tbsp capers, drained and roughly chopped
3 dashes of hot sauce (I prefer Frank’s, but feel free to sub in your own brand and adjust if you want more)
2 tbsp finely chopped tarragon leaves
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (2 hours would be better if you have the time)
1 tbsp paprika
2 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp white pepper
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp salt
Mix together ingredients in a small bowl. If not using immediately, store in an airtight container.
Ok, you’ve got your tartar sauce prepared and your blackening seasoning is mixed up and ready to go. Time to get started on the fish (and shrimp if you want to add some as well).
Pre-heat your grill to medium high. For our Big Green Egg, we stabilized it at 500F. I like to use a grill basket when doing fish as I find it easier to flip the fish. (If you don’t have one, it is not the end of the world. You can cook it on the original grates). Insert the grill basket onto your grill and let it come up to temperature with the grill.
Brush your trout lightly with olive oil and season liberally with blackening seasoning. I mean go heavy with the stuff. Don’t hold back. If you are going to do some shrimp as well, shell the shrimp and dust with the seasoning.
When you are ready to grill your fish, pour some oil on a paper towel and wipe down the grates on your grill. Trout is a fast cooking fish, so do not leave your grill while it is cooking. Place the trout meat side down on the oiled grates and grill for 2 to 3 minutes and then flip. If the fish is sticking to the grates, allow to cook 30 seconds to a minute more and then try to flip. The fish will cling to the grates until it is ready to flip. Once you flip the fish, grill for another minute or two. Remove from grill when fish reaches 135F.
Allow fish to rest covered loosely with foil for 5 minutes. The temperature of the trout should carry over to 140-145 while resting.
While the fish is resting, through a few shrimp on the grill if you like. They only take a few minutes per side.
Serve with plenty of your home-made horseradish and tarragon tartar sauce on the side.
Mrs. G told me later that evening that this had to be one of the best dinners we have cooked in weeks. The heat from the blackening seasoning was just right. The cool, creaminess of the tartar sauce offset it perfectly and the flavors were outstanding. She made me promise to never buy the jarred stuff again and to make it from scratch from now on. And the Brussel sprouts you see on the side there? Who knew I liked Brussel sprouts? I’ve been missing out all these years. Tune in later this week and we’ll show you how to make them. Mrs. G made them last night and I wasn’t paying attention, but she’s going to make them again tonight and I’ll make sure to take pictures and get a recipe. If only I knew before now…
Nutrional Facts Per Serving (minus the blackening seasoning and the shrimp)
Calories: 507 Protein: 47g Carbs: 1g Total Sugar: 0g Total Fat: 33g Saturated Fat: 4.8g
Cholesterol: 138mg Sodium: 661mg Fiber: 0g
We’ve made the tartar sauce numerous times since this post was written. In fact, we no longer buy pre-made tartar sauce anymore. While the red onions work fine, we’ve found that if allowed to sit, they tend to “stain” the tartar sauce and make it pink. We have subbed in yellow onions and that has fixed the problem without significantly changing the flavor profiles. While the red onions might give it an aesthetically pleasing edge, unless it is to be served within a few hours, we now opt for yellow.
I grew up in a little city down on the Texas coast called Corpus Christi. Spent most of my life there, within 10 minutes of the Gulf. I even went back for 4 or 5 years after college. And somehow, in all that time, I never learned how to fish! Seems like a shame now, especially considering how much Mrs. G and I like seafood, not that there is anywhere in Dallas to fish….at least not that I would eat. So now I just do most of my “fishing” at Central Market.
To continue on with our healthy eating this week, Mrs. G and I both agreed that we wanted some seafood. So after work, I headed up to my “local fishing” spot to see what I could find. Salmon? No, been doing that too much lately. Tilapia? Boring. Catfish? Never been a big fan. Red snapper? Too expensive. That’s when I spotted some rainbow trout. Haven’t had that in years and the price was good. Fish looked good and didn’t have that fishy smell. Done!
We kept it pretty simple last night as far as seasoning. Some salt and pepper, a few slices of lemon, some thyme and a little bit of rosemary. (We grow our own rosemary BTW, and when spring rolls around I’m going to try to grow some other herbs as well as our usual peppers, but I digress). I can’t seem to leave things alone, so mine also got a sprinkling of Dizzy Pig Jamaican Firewalk. What can I say? I like a lil bit of heat.
The fish went on to my Big Green Egg, which was preheated to 400 F along with some apple wood chips to give it a little smoke flavor. We also tossed in some zucchini that was seasoned up simple with some salt and pepper.
Somewhere I read that you want to cook rainbow trout to about 135. Not sure if that is correct or not. I’ve also heard to cook fish until its flakey, although another source says that if its flakey, it’s already overdone. I really don’t know. We let this fish cook for about 8 to 10 minutes, flipping it halfway through, and to us it seemed done. (And I’m writing this up the following morning with no ill effects and I’m still alive, so it must have been ok, lol).
Not my best plated up picture, but oh well. I’ll blame it on still being just a little bit sick, how’s that? We served it up along with some of my wife’s rice. She’s been playing around with using different amounts of chicken stock when making the rice, so it gives it a little extra flavor, but doesn’t make it too salty. She also threw in a few sprigs of thyme. The rice turned out really good, and went well the fish. The fish was very tender and had a mild taste. It would be good for those who are just starting to eat fish, but don’t like a strong fishy flavor (that sounded really weird to me after saying it, does it make sense?). There was a hint of smoke, but could have used more. Next time, I think I will add more apple wood chips. It’s such a quick cook, that if you want a smokey flavor, I think you need to have a handful or more to start with. I probably shouldn’t have added the lil bit of Jamaican Firewalk to mine as it gave it quite a bit of heat and I think over powered the fish. Should have stuck to simple. Overall, I think it was a pretty good meal, and I think it’s going to start going into our rotation as we continue to try to eat a lil bit healthier.
Happy Friday, I hope everybody has a great weekend and get out there and fire up that grill or smoker and cook something up! Everything tastes better over a lil fire!