Saute Of Trout with Pumpkin and Anisette
Osteria: Hearty Italian Fare from Rick Tramonto's Kitchen
by Rick Tramonto & Mary Goodbody
Trota con Zucca e Anisetta
(Saute of Trout with Pumpkin and Anisette)
Come fall, our customers can't seem to get enough of this simple trout dish. Perhaps it's the pumpkin or the allure of anise, or maybe they just like good rainbow trout. And who can blame them? Trout is clean and fresh tasting, without being "fishy," and no one seems to mind it served whole, as fish is prepared throughout Italy.
• About 1½ pounds peeled pumpkin, cut into large dice (about 3 cups)
• ¾ cup olive oil
• Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 4 rainbow trout, boned and cleaned
• ½ cup all-purpose flour
• ½ cup unsalted butter
• 1 teaspoon ground star anise
• 1 teaspoon ground anise seeds
• ½ teaspoon ground fennel seeds
• 4 fresh sage leaves, very thinly sliced
• Juice of 1 lemon
• 3 tablespoons Pernod or other anise-flavored liqueur
• 1 cup chicken stock
1. Preheat the oven to 450 °F.
2. In a large bowl, toss the pumpkin with ¼ cup of olive oil. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Spread the pumpkin on a baking sheet and roast for 8 to 10 minutes, or until tender and lightly caramelized.
3. Pat the trout with paper towels to make sure they are very dry. Season them on both sides with salt and pepper, and sprinkle the skin side with just enough flour to coat. Pat off any excess flour.
4. Heat two large saute pans over medium-high heat. Pour ¼ cup of olive oil into each pan. When the oil is hot, carefully lay 2 trout in each pan, skin side down. Cook for about 4 minutes, or until the skin is crispy.
5. Divide the butter between the pans and swirl the pans slightly to encourage melting. Sprinkle the star anise, anise seeds, and fennel seeds over the fish in both pans. If you don't use all the spice mixture—and you probably won't—reserve it.
6. As the butter melts and begins to foam, baste the flesh side of the trout with it. Add the sage, dividing it evenly between the pans. This part of the cooking process will take about 3 minutes. The trout should be cooked through but still moist.
7. Lift the trout from the pans and set aside on plates, loosely covered with foil.
8. Divide the lemon juice and Pernod between the pans and cook over medium-high heat, stirring with a wooden spoon and scraping up any browned bits. Add ½ cup of stock to each pan and bring to a boil. By now, the buttery sauce should be browned and smelling of the spices. It will come together after it boils.
9. Toss the roasted pumpkin in the sauce, spoon the sauce and pumpkin over the trout, and serve.
The Sommelier Recommends
Maurizio Zanella is one of Italy's wine luminaries; his winery in Lombardy, Ca' del Bosco, produces the full spectrum of what we love to drink. For the trout dish, with its heady brown spices and creamy pumpkin, pair a savory, brown-spiced Ca' del Bosco Carmenero. It will fill out the dish with all the right fruit and herbal notes.