I’m lucky to have an excellent fishmonger (Steve Hatt, Essex Road, N1) a 5 minute cycle from where I live, and it’s a favourite at the weekend when I have time to stop by and see what looks good. A price ticket telling me their line-caught sea trout was the cheapest it’s been all year won me over, and I tried not to blink when the fishmonger said the whole thing would be £22. I didn’t really do the mental arithmetic to work out a big fish would be well over a kilo, and I had the cash to cover it so I said yes, added a dressed crab to the bag too, and figured we’d just have to eat a lot of fish over the weekend!
I got the fishmonger to fillet the fish for me and two massive fillets yielded 6 very generous portions. For dinner on Saturday I fried the first two fillets in a very hot pan with a smashed clove of garlic and a bay leaf, as suggested by Hugh F-W in the River Cottage Fish book (in a recipe for sea trout with creamed sorrel, p308). Since no sorrel was to found in Islington, I served it atop a risotto of broad beans, rocket, spinach and watercress instead. The broad beans were lovely fresh specimens from the veg box, and I love them in risotto.
I made the risotto the usual way, and added the broad beans about 5 minutes before the risotto was cooked. Once cooked, I stirred through the leaves (bought as a mixed bag) until they wilted a bit but not cooked.
The sea trout was just gorgeous, I love trout and this was a beauty. I made the skin good and crispy but by some miracle timed it just right so the middle was still slightly underdone..
The other fillets were served with new potatoes, roast beetroot and home-made slaw the next day, and the two tail end pieces cooked at the same time, but made into a salad with the leftover veggies on Monday.
And I certainly shouldn’t be so wary of the spending a bit more than usual on good quality, sustainably sourced fish in the future: at £3.66 a serving, it wasn’t as dear as I initially thought. And considering I cut each fillet into three greedy portions rather than the four regular-sized portions it could easily have yielded, goes to show that £22 of fish can go a long way when you try.