Photo by Johnny Miller; Food Styling by Roscoe Betsill
The James Beard Award–winning chefs Mark Gaier and Clark Frasier of Arrows restaurant in Ogunquit, Maine, put a Far East spin on Down East trout with this dish: a whole trout that’s encased in a crispy coating of sesame seeds and flavored with an exotic blast of ginger, garlic, scallions, and cilantro. Many supermarkets stock Chinese black bean sauce; if yours doesn’t, the sauce is still great without it. Gaier and Frasier developed this dish for Maine’s brookies and rainbows, but consider this a pan-species stunner; whole crappie would be exceptionally good. Skin-on fillets will work, too—just adjust the cooking time accordingly.
Sesame-Crusted Pan-Fried Rainbow Trout Recipe
– 6 whole trout (deboned if desired)
– 3 Tbsp. plus 1⁄2 cup vegetable oil, divided
– 1 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger
– 1 Tbsp. sliced garlic
– 1⁄2 cup chicken stock
– 1⁄2 tsp. rice wine or sherry
– 1⁄2 tsp. soy sauce
– 2 Tbsp. roasted sesame oil
– 1 cup all-purpose flour
– 2 Tbsp. sesame seeds
– 2 tsp. kosher salt
– 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
– 1 Tbsp. Chinese black bean sauce
– 1⁄4 cup chopped scallions
– 1 plum tomato, chopped
– Julienned scallions, for garnish
– Cilantro sprigs, for garnish
1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Heat 3 Tbsp. oil in a large nonreactive saucepan over medium heat. Sauté the ginger and garlic for about a minute, or until just golden. Add the chicken stock, rice wine, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Cook until the liquid is reduced by half, about 5 minutes, and set aside.
2. Combine the flour, sesame seeds, and salt in a bowl. In this mixture, dredge the trout, which should be wet for the mixture to adhere. Heat the remaining 1⁄2 cup oil in a large, nonstick sauté pan over medium-high heat. Fry the trout until golden brown, about 3 minutes on each side. (You may need to do this in several batches. If residue starts to blacken in the pan, dump the oil in a safe container, wipe the pan clean, and replace with fresh oil.)
3. Place the trout on a cookie sheet lined with parchment or wax paper, and roast in the oven for 4 to 5 minutes or until just cooked through.
4. Meanwhile, bring the chicken-stock mixture to a simmer and whisk in the butter, black bean sauce, chopped scallions, and tomato. Cook until heated through, about 2 minutes. Divide the sauce onto six plates and gently place a trout on each plate. Garnish with scallions and cilantro. Serves 6
Keep on Trocken
Trout loves Riesling, and Asian food loves Riesling, so this one’s a cinch. Steer toward the drier end of the varietal’s range by looking for the word trocken on all those tough-to-decipher German labels. Some standouts to seek out: The 2012 von Racknitz Nahe Trocken ($18) comes with a lot of depth, as does the Louis Guntrum Dry Riesling ($14), which packs the ideal balance of richness and tartness for this trout. For a cocktail: Mix equal parts Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur and 12-year-old Scotch over ice.