There is something about fresh roasted fish that always appeals to me. This simple preparation really allows the fish to be the star of the meal.
Trout are fresh water fish, with firm textured flesh and a medium to high (good) fat content. Rainbow trout is probably the best known and one of the most popular varieties in the world. Being a mild, white fish with a light, clean flavor and just a touch of ‘sweetness’, makes it perfect for even a non-fish lover.
Rainbow trout fillets vary from ivory to pink as they belong to the same family as salmon. They’re most often fried but can be poached, baked, steamed, grilled or broiled. Whole trout is often stuffed before being cooked. Mushrooms and fish are an underrated combination but a good one nonetheless. Fish cook very quickly so its important to make sure the stuffing is cooked first.
Rainbow Trout w/ Mushroom Stuffing
Clean & scale trout; set aside.
In a saucepan, heat butter. Add onions & celery; sauté for 3 minutes. Stir in mushrooms & season well; continuing to cook 3 more minutes. Add breadcrumbs & mix well. Add cream, fennel & chives; cook 3 minutes.
Remove pan from heat & stuff trout. Tie with string. Dredge with flour & bake 12-15 minutes.
Some years ago I started using leeks and have never looked back since. Brion & I have never tired of that subtle flavor. When a recipe calls for leeks, it usually indicates to use the white and light green parts only and to either discard the ‘tough dark green tops’ or save them for another use.
So what are these ‘other uses’? Usually it refers to using the green tops as add-ins for soups or stock, only to be removed once they have imparted their wonderful layer of flavor and discarded.
When you think about it, we cook up all kinds of vegetables that are ‘tough’ to start out with yet end up nice and tender when cooked or braised. I find, using the dark green tops presents no issues, just cook them a bit longer than the tender leaves.
On the other hand, you can braise the dark green tops with some butter/olive oil, chicken or veg stock, minced garlic, dried chili flakes, salt & pepper & some lemon juice and make a great side dish to serve with fish or pasta etc.
Stuffed Pasta Shells w/ Wild Salmon, Leeks & Mushrooms
Pasta & Filling
In a large pot, bring salted water to a boil. Add pasta shells & cook 3 minutes less than the cooking time indicated on the package instructions. Drain pasta
In a large saucepan, over medium-high heat, saute chopped bacon until cooked. Remove from saucepan with a slotted spoon to a paper towel. Add leeks, garlic & mushrooms to bacon drippings. Sauté until leeks are soft; season with salt & pepper. Add salmon, gently combine & set aside.
In a saucepan over medium heat, add butter & olive oil. Once melted, add garlic then sauté until light golden brown, about 30 seconds, being careful not to burn. Sprinkle in flour; whisk & sauté for 1 minute. Slowly pour in chicken broth and milk while whisking until mixture is smooth. Season with salt & pepper then switch to a wooden spoon & stir constantly until mixture is thick & bubbly, 4-5 minutes.
Remove saucepan from heat & stir in mozzarella cheese, garlic powder & parsley flakes until smooth. Taste then adjust salt & pepper if necessary.
In a small saucepan, over medium heat, add olive oil. Add breadcrumbs & cook, stirring until toasted & golden in color. Remove from heat & place in a small bowl; combine with parmesan cheese.
Assembly & Baking
In a 13 X 9-inch baking dish, spread a small amount of garlic sauce over the bottom. To filling mixture, add reserved bacon & enough garlic sauce to help the filling stick together.
Divide filling between the 16 cooked pasta shells & place in baking dish. Top with any remaining garlic sauce then sprinkle topping over all.
Bake for about 30 minutes making sure not to overcook the salmon. Serve.