Rampage: Part Trout

May 12, 2010

As mentioned in a previous post, its ramp season! Well, it's almost done now. I've been meaning to post this for a couple of days, but you know, all that other life-living kept getting in the way. I happened to buy these trouts (purposely adding the "s" because I want to) at a Whole Foods in Virginia, where I questioned the clerk as to why there was tax on my purchase. "It's just trouts!" I protested to the confused clerk, thinking my purchase was mislabeled as take-out food or something. So, boo to Virginia for taxing groceries. (Side note: yes, even super-liberal Democrats will occasionally complain about taxes.) Apparently, my trusty Shelburne Farms cookbook agrees with me. It suggested that, in the ideal situation, one would catch the trouts in a gently babbling brook, then forage for the ramps on the side of the stream. And, when you get home, Aunt Bea will have made a pie! Golly!

Trouts with ramps, served with herbed aioli, adapted from Cooking with Shelburne Farms
Serves 2

2 whole trouts, cleaned and butterflied
8 ramps (or scallions, if you can't find ramps), hairy root bits trimmed off
salt and pepper
2 sprigs each of 2-3 herbs (I used garlic chives, regular chives, and oregano)
salt and pepper

Herbed aioli (because I refuse to call it mayonnaise)
1 egg yolk (farm fresh, please)
3/4 teaspoon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1 minced teaspoon of each of the herbs you used above
1/4 cup olive oil

Put your cast-iron skillet in the oven and set it to broil. Let it get hot in there while you get the fish ready.

Rinse and pat dry the trouts. Open each fish like a book, and season the inside with salt and pepper. Divide the herb sprigs and all but two of the ramps among the fish. (Save the two ramps with the longest greens.) Close up the fish, then tie each one closed with a ramp. The photo above is of the raw trouts, so you can see the little ramp knot. Don't they look like they just ate a bunch of ramps? Ha!

Carefully take the superhot skillet out of the oven and put the trouts in. Broil them for 7-9 minutes, or until the fish is cooked through.

Meanwhile, make the aioli. In a mini-chopper (or blender), zip up the egg yolk, mustard, salt, lemon juice, vinegar and herbs. Add the olive oil, and zip again until nicely emulsified. (It can probably take more oil than that, but I liked it like this.)

When the fish is done, serve it whole on the plate. The exposed ramps might be a little charred, but that's ok - I won't make you eat that part. To eat, scrape off the skin (it is really easy), and serve with the aioli.