CSF Saves Griller

The CSF previewed on this blog over the summer has arrived, and it is delivering great happiness to our home. Called Walking Fish and started by a group of Duke students at the Nicholas School, it is now delivering fish caught by North Carolina fishermen to members once a week. (Shares are sold out; watch the site for opportunities for next year.)

CSF stands for “community sponsored fishery.” It works much like a CSA (community sponsored agriculture), in which you purchase a “share” in advance and receive weekly deliveries. (We pick ours up at the Sarah P. Duke Gardens.) The advantage for the fishery is that they are guaranteed a certain level of income. The advantage for us is fresh fish at a decent price. For $11.67 per week, Fred and I receive between 1 and 2 pounds of fish, or roughly $7.78 per pound.

Fred forgot to pick up the first week’s delivery, but I have begun to forgive him. After that disaster, however, we have so far received shrimp, yellow-bellied spot, and mullet

which we prepared like this

The side dishes are mashed potatoes with roasted squash, zuchhini, onion, and tomatoes. But those are unimportant. The important thing here is that the fish is GRILLED–deliciously, beautifully, wonderfully grilled.

My days of embarassingly inept grilling may be drawing to a close. Thanks to a Saturday spent watching my friend Bebe, an expert griller, prepare salmon, I quickly discovered a painfully obvious reason for my failures.

I was excited when Bebe invited me over for fish one Saturday, and even more excited when I realized I’d have a chance to watch someone who knew what she was doing work the grill. I had planned to watch her technique closely: how she laid out the fire, whether or not she covered it, how much she opened the vents once lid was put on.

I stood in her backyard, wine glass in hand, ready to take notes as she gathered her charcoal and implements.

“I’m really glad I have the chance to watch you do this,” I said. “I just can’t figure out why I can’t get my food to cook right on the grill.”

“Well, there’s nothing to it,” she said. (All grillers say that, but if there were nothing to it, poor Fred would not have suffered through multiple servings of simultaneously charred and raw steaks.)

“Maybe for you,” I said, and blathered on as I watched: “I wonder if I’m putting the lid on too soon? Oh–I see you’re opening those vents underneath. I do that too, but it doesn’t seem to matter. And you’re using self-lighting charcoal–well, we can’t do that with our grill because it has the option of using a propane tank to light the charcoal and if we ever want to do that we can’t use the self-lighting grill or we’ll blow ourselves and the entire neighborhood sky-high.”

Then she put a pile of charcoal on the grill. A big pile.

“You use THAT MUCH charcoal?”

“Yeah, you need to make a pretty big fire. And it needs to get hot–wait until the flames die down and all the embers are red.”

Oh.

So for the mullet, I got me a big pile of charcoal–roughly three times what I’d been using before. I completely filled that damn starter and fired ‘er up. And the mullet was great.

Scenes from the Sea: CSF and Tom Robinson’s Seafood

Unbeknownst to me, my recent quest for octopus started with a meeting at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment. The event, sponsored by DukeFish, was a focus group on the possibility of starting a CSF (community sponsored fishery) in Durham. A CSF works much like a CSA (community sponsored agriculture), in which individuals purchase a “share” in a farm for a summer and in return get vegetables delivered every week. (Duke’s Mobile Farmers Market offers this option.) Think tuna and shrimp in your weekly box instead of squash and tomatoes.

I signed up for the focus group the second I heard about it and persuaded poor Fred to come along with me. Not realizing that the event had been organized by graduate students, I was lured by visions of free wine and product samples–crab dips with water crackers; sushi rolls; smoked salmon with capers, onions and heirloom tomatoes; seared tuna slices drizzled with organic olive oil and sea salt.

When we arrived, about five minutes late, the graduate students had already decimated the hummus, vegetable tray, ranch dressing, and pita bread to cobble together their pitiful suppers. Fred and I picked up some baby carrots and a few stray red pepper slices, scraped the remaining hummus from the tray, took our water bottles, and sat down.

Still, the group was interesting and the conversation productive–especially for me, since it led to the discovery of Tom Robinson’s Seafood in Carrboro.

As we discussed the possibilities of the CSF–the graduate students stuffed with pita bread, the rest of us trying to ignore the rumblings of our stomachs as they mulled over the carrot scraps– we agreed that it wasn’t easy to find fresh and reasonably priced seafood in Durham. “Except for Tom Robinson’s, of course,” said one participant, “which is the only place I can get sushi-grade fish. And it’s in Carrboro.”

Tom Robinson’s? Was it possible there was an alternative to $23/pound sea bass at Whole Foods and tired, mushy, dried-out supermarket offerings? I turned to Fred.

“I gotta talk to this guy after the meeting,” I whispered.

A desperate look came into his eyes. “Aren’t we going to get something to eat?” he croaked.

Fred often says he’s a simple man. He’s right. I knew exactly how to handle this one. “We can go get a pork sandwich at the Federal after this,” I wheedled.

The desperate look disappeared and was instantly replaced by hopeful anticipation. I knew I’d get however long I needed.

It turns out that the other participant was a writer for the wonderful blog Carpe Durham, and he lived in our neighborhood. Tom Robinson’s, he explained, was a little place, but the owner traveled to the coast once a week and brought in fresh seafood. There was usually a pretty good variety, and prices were reasonable.

Just a week or so later, the Octo-Pie project under way and no octopus to be found in Durham, I found myself giving them a call.

“Do you have octopus?” I asked.

“Yes,” said a Spanish-inflected voice on the other end. “But it’s frozen. Not fresh. Is that okay?”

You have the only octopus between here and somewhere in the mid-Atlantic and you’re asking me if it’s okay if it’s frozen, I thought. “That’s fine,” I said. “How do I get there?”

I drove down 15-501 from Durham, wended my way through Chapel Hill’s achingly slow and self-righteous traffic, smug in its care for pedestrians and conservation of our natural resources, and turned left on Roberson Street in Carrboro.

I would have missed the building had it not been for a small sign reading “Fresh Fish” stuck in the grass next to the street. Next to the sign was a small white cinder-block building, in a white gravel lot, looking very much like it had been lifted up from a little sea town in the Bahamas and plopped down in the middle of Carrboro.

Walking in to the building through the screened door, I saw just two medium-sized coolers and a stainless steel rack with a smattering of condiments. A Japanese family was pointing at the contents, speaking to each other in their native language, and apparently deciding what to order. The Japanese are very picky about their fish, and when they frequent a place, it’s a good sign.

I picked up four pounds of frozen octopus, a whole pink snapper (about a pound and a half), and a pound of whole shrimp (heads and all) all for around $50. The prices were slightly lower than at Whole Foods, and I was also able to keep the head and bones of the snapper for stock. On a later trip, I was even able to get some conch, pictured below. (It was fresh and had a wonderful flavor, but I botched the recipe I tried by not properly tenderizing the meat beforehand.)


My only reservations about Tom Robinson’s are 1) the place doesn’t exude the kind of cleanliness I like to see in a fish market, and 2) on a return trip, a little over a week after the first one, I saw a distinctive whole fish for sale that was very suspiciously like another from my previous visit. Still, the snapper we had was firm, fresh, and delicious, as were the shrimp, and the prices can’t be beat. Fred and I will be going back for more.

If you want to make a trip yourself, here’s the address. They don’t have a web site, so call them if you need more information.

Tom Robinson’s Seafood
207 Roberson St.
Carrboro, NC 27510-2349
(919) 942-1221‎

The Octo-Pie


For years, my reputation as a cook hinged on my pies. This was largely the result of my friends’ utter ignorance of the pie-making process. Not realizing that the phrase “easy as pie” had been coined for a reason, they were easy targets, impressed by the mere fact that I made my own crusts. I did what I could to reinforce the myth, pointing out that I rolled out my crusts on an old flour sack taken from my grandmother and regaling them with stories of summer blackberry picking. Other key points were quietly omitted, such as the fact that my crust recipe was lifted from the back of the Crisco can and that my grandfather said of my first blackberry pie, “That crust reminds me of the bottom of my boot!”

So it came as a bit of a surpise when, a few months into our marriage, I realized that I had never made a pie for Fred.

He was thrilled to know that I could actually make pies from scratch and immediately began to imagine the possibilities.

“Can you make rhubarb pie?” he asked.

“Oh yes, when it’s in season.”

“How about blueberry?”

“Of course. There’s also grape pie in the fall,” I added. “You use Concord grapes, and it tastes like a really good grape jam.”

Then Fred’s brain, straying into odd corners as it likes to do, began to explore other options.

“What about onion pie?” he said.

“Actually, yes. It’s like a quiche.”

“Fish pie?”

“Um, never tried it, but I could probably figure it out.”

Then Fred’s eyes lit up and his face erupted in a happy smile–a sure sign that a terrible, terrible pun was at hand.

“What about octo-pie?”

I sighed. “I’m sure I could figure that out too.”

With that, the spectre of the octo-pie began to haunt my culinary imagination. Surely there must be a way to make a savory pie using octopus, a delicacy we both enjoy. But the project stayed on the back burner until Fred’s most recent birthday.

Preparing for a small dinner party to celebrate, I began scouring my cookbooks for ideas. And when I pulled out my copy of Lidia’s Italy and flipped it open, there it was: Octo-pie.

The recipe is actually for a tiella, a dough made with semolina flour that tastes like a cross between a pie crust and cornbread. Lidia’s recipe includes other fillings if octopus is not your thing, but the octopus was delicious–firm, tender and richly complemented by the flavors of olives and garlic.* Even some of our timid dinner guests tried it and were pleased. And Fred was ecstatic to have a pun to eat on his birthday

*I’ll describe where I got hold of the octopus in a future post.

Nona Lisa’s Tiella and Filling with Octopus, Garlic and Oil (adapted from Lidia’s Italy by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich, pages 247 – 252)

Tiella Dough

1 pkg. (2 tsps.) dry yeast
1/4 c. warm water
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour, plus more for handling the dough
1 1/2 c. semolina flour
1 tsp. coarse sea salt or kosher salt
1 1/2 tsp. sugar
3/4 c. cool water plus more if needed
3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for the bowl

Dissolve yeast in warm water and let it sit for several minutes.

Put flours, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor and run the machine for a few seconds to blend the dry ingredients.

Stir the active yeast together with the cool water and olive oil in a spouted measuring cup. With food processor running, pour all the liquid into the flours and continue processing for 30 seconds or so. A soft dough should gather on the blade and clean the sides of the bowl. If the sides are not clear, incorporate more flour, a tablespoon at a time, to stiffen the dough. If the dough is very stiff, work in more cool water in small amounts. (You can also use a heavy-duty electric mixer to form the dough or do it by hand.)

Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and knead by hand briefly to form a smooth round. Placed the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled, about an hour. Deflate the dough when doubled, knead it briefly, and return to the bowl for a second rise. Dough can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to a day at this point; deflate and knead it whenever it doubles. (It doubled only once in the 24 hours it sat in my refrigerator.)

Octopus Filling

4 lbs. frozen, cleaned octopus (tentacles about 1/2″ thick at thickest part)

2 bay leaves
1 lb. ripe plum tomatoes (4 tomatoes)
4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tbsp. sliced garlic
2/3 c. Gaeta olives, pitted and cut in half (I could not find Gaeta olives and used Kalamata)
1/2 tsp. peperoncino flakes
1/2 tsp. coarse sea salt or kosher salt

2 tbsp. chopped fresh Italian parsley

Defrost the octopus, and put it in a big pot with several inches of water to cover. Add the bay leaves. Bring to a boil, and cook at a bubbling simmer for about 35 minutes, or until the octopus is tender but al dente. You should be able to pierce the flesh with a big meat fork but still feel a bit of resistance when you withdraw it. The skin of the octopus should still be largely intact–not broken and peeling off, which indicates overcooking. Let it cool in the cooking water, then drain well and cut it up into 3/4″ pieces.

Rinse, core, and seed the plum tomatoes, and cut into 1/2″ dice. Pour the olive oil into a big skillet, set it over medium heat, and stir in the garlic. Cook for a minute, until sizzling, then add the octopus pieces and toss them in the oil. Scatter the olives in the pan, and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring and tossing; sprinkle in the peperoncino. When the octopus is sizzling, toss in the diced tomatoes, and season with the salt.

Cook at the simmer, stirring frequently, for another 10 minutes or so, until the filling is dense and glistening, with no liquid left in the pan. Toss in the parsley, and cool the filling before assembling the tiella.

Assembly and Baking

Heat oven to 375. Arrange a rack in the center of the oven and put a baking stone on it, if you have one. Brush the bottom and sides of a 12″ oven-proof skillet, baking pan, or tiella pan lightly with olive oil.

Deflate the dough, knead it briefly to form a round again, and cut off a third of the dough for the top crust of the tiella. The larger, two-thirds piece will be the bottom crust. Let the dough relax (especially if it has been chilled) before rolling.

On a floured surface, roll out the big piece of dough to a 14″ round. Transfer the round to the skillet or baking pan, centered and lying flat on the bottom and sides. Trim the top edge of the dough neatly so it is an even height, about 1 1/2″, up the sides all around.

Scrape the cooled filling into the bottom crust, and spread it in an even layer, slightly compressed. The bottom crust should extend at least 1/2″ above the filling all around.

Roll out the smaller piece of dough to a 12″ round and trim it into a neat circle that is a bit larger than the layer of filling–use a ruler to get the right dimensions. Center the circle and lay it on top of the filling. Pinch together the overlapping edges of the bottom and top crusts all around. Fold this flap of dough inward and press it down and against the pan sides all around. Make uniform indentations with your fingertips, to seal the tiella tightly and create a decorative rim of dough at the same time.

With the tip of a sharp knife, pierce the top crust all over with a dozen or so small slits. Finally, brush extra virgin olive oil all over the tiella, including the border of the crust.

Bake the tiella, on the heated stone if you have one, for about 45 minutes, or until the crust is a deep golden brown. Cool it on a rack for at least an hour in the skillet. Invert and remove the tiella if you want, or leave it in the pan for serving. Cut wedges and serve slightly warm or at room temperature. (It is also good hot.)

A Beet, a Pickle, and a Potato Walk into a Bar . . .

My explorations of Sundays at Moosewood continue, and thank God I’m I nicer person than I was in the early 1990s. In reading through the section on food from the Southern United States, I came across the very sentence that nearly led me heave the book out the window: “I had to redefine Southern cooking in order to present it without meat.”

Therein lies the major shortcoming of the book. If the cuisine I grew up with has been rendered unrecognizable (the author suggests adding Gouda cheese instead of bacon to give Southern dishes their smokey flavor, an idea that’s only slightly better than shoving a fork into your own eyeball), then I can only imagine how they’ve desecrated the cuisines of Africa, India, and China.

But I’m a calmer person now, content to labor along in abject ignorance of other cultures and willing to accept butchered versions of “authentic” dishes if they are edible. Thus I came across the recipe below for Russian salad–which used a miraculous combination of beets, pickles, and potatoes to clear out the entire supply of oddball items left lurking in my refrigerator.

The recipe comes from the section in Sundays at Moosewood on Finnish cuisine. The recipes, focusing on root vegetables, are fascinating, but there’s still a lot of earnest vegetarianism to overcome. The author of this section is a grad-school dropout who adopted some goats from a Finnish farmer, couldn’t bear to kill them, and started rescuing animals at livestock auctions. I sympathize (heck, I still can’t bring myself to eat veal)–but then, there’s the problem with the fish and the need to take advantage of what’s available in local conditions. Never mind that “the Finns do eat a great deal of fish, as is quite natural in such a watery place”; the author writes: “I don’t eat fish myself or recommend it to others, so I’ve not included fish recipes in this chapter.”

I’ll let the reaction of her Finnish neighbors to the smorgasbord Moosewood put on for them sum all this up: “Knowing how nostalgic Finns can be about their traditional foods, it was with some trepidation that we presented our [vegetarian] versions of some age-old dishes. But all was well. Nothing was too far off the mark or else, with the usual quiet steadiness and reserve of the Finnish folk, they didn’t let on.”

If those Finns had been in North Carolina, they’d have been saying, “Bless their hearts” quietly to themselves.

To honor the fishy Finns, I served the Russian Salad with a mackerel recipe adopted from James Beard’s “Mackerel in Escabeche.” It was a great combination of spicy and sweet, hearty and light. In this case, I DO recommend fish to others.

Russian Salad (Venalainensalaatti) (from Sundays at Moosewood, p. 263)

2 c. cooked, diced potatoes (the recipe says to peel; I did not)
2 c. peeled, diced, and cooked carrots
1 c. peeled, diced tart apple
1 c. minced dill pickles (we used Claussen’s)
1/2 c. minced onion
2 c. cooked, peeled, and diced beets

Cooked beets for Russian Salad, from Britt Farms

Dressing
1 c. sour cream (or 2/3 c. heavy cream)
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice or cider vinegar (we used lemon juice)
Dash of salt, sugar, and freshly ground black pepper

Hard-boiled eggs, sliced

Dressing for Russian Salad

Mix potatoes, carrots, apple, pickles, and onion in large serving bowl. Chill. (I did not.) Combine all the dressing ingredients and chill. (Again, I did not.) Add the beets to the other vegetables just before serving. Fold dressing into salad just before serving. Can also serve dressing on the side or mounded on top of the salad. Decorate with egg slices.

Russian Salad ingredients assembled

Mackerel in Escabeche

3 mackerel steaks, salted and peppered (1 1/2 lb.)
1/4 c. lemon juice (recipe calls for lime)
1/4 c. orange juice
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 tbsp. red pepper flakes
4 small cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp. minced fresh cilantro
White wine

Mackerel awaiting saute

Saute all ingredients except mackerel, cilantro, and wine in large skillet until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.

Vegetables in saute

Add cilantro and mackerel.

Mackerel sauteing, just before covering

Cover and cook for about 2 minutes. Turn fish, cover and continue to cook until mackerel is just done, about 5 more minutes. Check after 1 – 2 minutes, and if sauce begins to dry out, add a few splashes of white wine.

Voila! Finland meets Mexico

In which weight watching again spurs us to new heights

Since last summer’s wine revelation, in which a beautiful piece of trout emerged victorious from its poaching in the world’s worst wine, we’ve continued to make variations on that dish. But our current caloric restrictions posed some new challenges when I went to cook some tilapia we picked up at the Evil Empire (some call it Whole Foods). A recipe with “1/2 stick butter” as its second ingredient would force us to eat celery for the rest of the week, and we had other plans.

But summer vegetables, herbs, and . . . well, chicken stock made from the Rainbow Meadow Farms chicken worked in our favor, and I was able to make a dish that was, truly, just as good as the original. (Really, Rainbow Meadow Farms is not paying me. But if they offered me a free chicken one day, I would not offer any objections.)

We ate the dish so fast that I was able to photograph only this sad leftover piece with its pitiful scraps of the pepper and onion–a symbol of the fleeting pleasures our ephemeral existence provides.

Louise was hopeful that some of those fleeting pleasures would fall across her path, and did her best to encourage mishaps by standing underfoot during much of the cooking process.

Realizing that even her best efforts were doomed to failure, however, she conceded defeat and went to pursue other pleasures by beating up Cleo.

Tilapia with Pepper and Onions (serves 2; 8 – 9 points each)

1 lb. tilapia fillets
2 tsp. olive oil
1 yellow pepper, cut into thin strips 2 – 3″ long
1 large sweet onion, halved, sliced thin
1 medium clove garlic, minced
1/4 – 1/2 cup chicken broth (homemade is best; otherwise use low sodium)
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced
3 – 4 tbsp. fresh oregano, minced
Salt and pepper to taste

Generously salt and pepper tilapia fillets. Heat oil in large skillet over medium high heat. Add onions and saute until translucent. Add pepper and saute for 2-3 minutes, adding a little broth if ingredients get too brown. Add garlic and stir. Add enough broth to cover bottom of skillet. Salt to taste. Cover and cook for 10 minutes or so, until vegetables are tender.

Remove lid and lay tilapia over top of vegetables. Add remaining broth, if needed, and wine. Sprinkle herbs on top of fish. Cover and cook for five minutes or until fish is just cooked. Remove lid and put fish on serving plates. Turn heat to high and cook vegetables, uncovered, just a few minutes more, until liquid has somewhat evaporated. Add vegetables to plates. Leave skillet on high heat and reduce remaining liquid until somewhat thickened. Pour over fish and serve.

In Honor of Weight Watchers, We Present Fish Salad and Roasted Broccoli

Part I: Weight Watching

We’ve given up. We went to Weight Watchers yesterday.

It’s a sad day for the house that loves guanciale, and butter, and pasta, and roasting a chicken just so we can eat the skin. But we really have no choice. I am 7 pounds over what is considered a maximum healthy weight for my height, and Fred–well, he’s a little more than that.

Our mission now will be to create dishes that will keep us within our daily points allowance but won’t completely compromise our food integrity. This means none of the glue-like substances that some marketers try to pass off as food, like fat-free cream cheese and mayonnaise. I don’t think we can take that. But we can certainly eat a heck of a lot more vegetables, and probably much smaller portions of the things we love.

I am also delighted to report that a Bloody Mary is only 3 points, but just 2 if you use only a splash of tomato juice.

Tonight, we cooked the last of the guanciale in a pasta dish. We just ate less of it and more of the broccoli I fixed to go with it. A colleague offered the following preparation for the broccoli, which turned out to be quite good.

Roasted Broccoli

Cut up two heads of broccoli. Toss in 1 1/2 tbsp. olive oil and salt it to within an inch of its life. Roast in a shallow pan at 400 degrees until just beginning to brown, about 10 – 15 minutes.

“It’s just like popcorn,” my co-worker told me, and it’s pretty darn close.

II. And Then There’s the Fish Salad

I have also been meaning to talk about the spectacular fish salad I created last week with some leftover broiled triggerfish. Unfortunately its next iteration will probably have to wait until after the Weight Watchers project is over, or until I have not eaten for several days.

This is a great way to use leftover broiled, poached, or grilled fish. Since you don’t have to re-heat it, you don’t risk the overcooking that usually renders leftover fish dry and nearly inedible.

The recipe would work well with any white fish that you typically cook through rather than serve rare. If you have a leftover piece that is rare (like salmon or tuna), you might want to broil or poach it for a minute or two before making the salad.

Fish Salad (makes about 2 cups)

1 piece cooked fish (about 4 oz.), bones removed if necessary, chopped fine
2 – 3 carrots, peeled and minced
2- 3 stalks celery, minced
1 small sweet onion (Vidalia or other mild variety), minced
1/2 cup peas, cooked until just tender, drained (pour cold water over peas to stop cooking)
1/2 cup mayonnaise, or more to taste
Salt to taste

Mix all ingredients together in bowl. Serve with crackers or with a sandwich. Don’t count the Weight Watchers points.

World’s Worst Wine–and Great Fish

In March 2007, Julia Moskin reported in the New York Times that cheap wine worked just as well as expensive wine in recipes where the wine is cooked. Last night, I put this theory to the test with what is easily the World’s Worst White Wine, pictured below.


Fred received this as a gift from a Hungarian acquaintance about two years ago. It tastes like a cross between apple cider vinegar and Blue Nun Riesling. It has been sitting in our refrigerator, opened and unloved, for approximately a year.

(Please don’t ask me why I kept it. I can’t explain it. It’s the same impulse that causes me to save soap from hotel showers while I spend $30 for a bowl of cereal and coffee in the restaurant.)

Thank goodness I hung on to it. Last night I took a risk and poached some beautiful trout in the contents of our underappreciated friend. The result was tender, flaky fish in a light, balanced, sauce, with no trace of either vinegar or Blue Nun. Even better, we got to drink more of  the expensive bottle we received as a wedding gift.

Look at how our dear old companion, the longtime tenant of our refrigerator, hovers proudly over his creation:

Poached Fish in White Wine 2007 2

(Don’t tell him that I think a big part of the success was the fresh-squeezed lemon juice).

Here is the recipe. My new motto: Cook with crappy wine!

Trout Poached in White Wine and Herbs (serves 4)

4 large trout filets
1/2 stick butter
2 onions, thinly sliced and divided into rings
2 tbsp. snipped fresh chives
2 tbsp. parsley (I cheated and used dried)
4 bay leaves
Salt
2 tsp. whole black peppercorns
3/4 cup white wine (really, any kind will do!!)
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice

Melt butter on low heat in large skillet. Turn heat to medium, add 1/2 of onions and saute until translucent. Put trout filets over onions (they can overlap a little). Generously salt filets. Place remaining onion, chives, parsley, and peppercorns over fish. Bury bay leaves between filets. Mix together wine and lemon juice and pour over fish. Add enough water to cover. Bring to boil, uncovered, then reduce heat to medium low. Continue to simmer, covered, until fish is just cooked–check after 5 minutes and continue checking every 1-2 minutes.

Here is a photo of the trout happily sauteing in the pan:

Poached Fish in White Wine 2007

We served this with a salad of baby greens and raw kale. It’s very quick and a nice side for the fish. This amount would make a small side salad for 4 people–increase amounts if you would like more.

Dressing:

1/4 c. olive oil
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. brown mustard
1/4 tsp. salt

Whisk together dressing ingredients. Pour over:

2 cups baby greens
2 cups raw kale, stems removed, torn into bite-sized pieces

Top with:
1/2 c. fresh grated Parmesan

Toss, salt to taste, and serve.