There was nothing very inspiring in the way of fish at the shops today and I didn’t feel like meat but there were some nice looking rainbow trout. I’ve been cooking rainbow trout ever since the early ’80s. A simple grilled rainbow trout – rubbed with salt, pepper, lemon juice and olive oil – accompanied with lemony potatoes and a simple green veg was a stand-by dish. It was one that I could serve up to guests (though strangely I discovered that a lot of people were scared of whole fish with bones. Actually a lot of people just didn’t eat fish!) The potatoes were key: cubed and cooked in a small amount of chicken stock which was then reduced with some butter and the addition of lemon juice and then fresh chopped dill, chives and parsley folded through and a final cracking of black pepper. It still remains a dish I do on occasion.
I have a rather wonderful – and super easy – Thai recipe for rainbow trout with little Thai pea and apple eggplants. Alas here in Noosa there are no such things. And in that particular dish, you can’t just substitute ordinary eggplant or even the Japanese variety. But I did think that a red-style curry with pumpkin would work well, perhaps with some zucchini and a handful of snow peas for colour and to accompany, a cucumber relish. Quick and easy.
Making Thai-style curries is a process of just going with whatever’s in your fridge/pantry and letting your taste buds guide you. So if you don’t have a particular ingredient, either skip or substitute. For this curry I had on hand:
- coriander (you need the roots for the paste)
- kapi (shrimp paste)
- coriander seeds
- white peppercorns
- red shallots
and that’s all that is needed for a basic curry paste.
To make the curry I brought some coconut cream to the boil and then added my curry paste (just blitz all the above ingredients) and let that cook until it was nice and fragrant, then added some coconut milk, fish sauce, shredded lime leaves (I have a little tree in the garden) and some extra chilli (because I like my curries hot) and then put in the whole trout and then the pumpkin, then zucchini and finally towards the end, the sno peas. A final flavour adjustment – dash more fish sauce, squeeze of lime juice and meal done!
Jasmine rice on the stove – also something that you just set and forget. The cucumber relish is super easy too. It’s equal parts sugar, coconut vinegar and water (4 tablespoons) and some chopped coriander root , brought to the boil and stirred until the sugar dissolves then set aside to cool. If you have in your pantry a jar of pickled garlic, this goes in nicely, but if not, it doesn’t really matter. Finely slice red shallots, chilli and cucumber into a bowl then pour over the vinegar mixture. Delicious and super quick and easy. All you then have to do is wait for the evening to get on – never a good idea to start cooking too early.