Monday, April 30, 2007

Trout in the Bag (Literally!)

Trota al Cartoccio con Risotto di Asparagi a.k.a. Trout Baked in Parchment with Asparagus Risotto.

Here's an answer to the spring cooking challenge set by Julie, Cherry and Scott named "In the Bag: Cooking in the Month of May", which requires the use of the springtime ingredients trout, asparagus and spring onions. With ingredients like that, what's not to love?

Trout packet ingredients:
2 trout
2 square pieces of parchment paper
6 thin slices of fresh lemon
a few sprigs of chive
4 tbsps white wine
I started by pre-heating the oven to 400F and then prepared the trout. This was dinner for two so I just made two parchment packets. I placed each trout on the top end of a square of parchment paper, salted and peppered the fish inside the cavity and all around the skin. I prepared three very thin lemon slices and set them overlapping on the fish, then sprinkled a little minced chive on top. Music to season trout by: "The Garden of Earthly Delights" by XTC on the album "Oranges and Lemons". Then I folded the lower half of the parchment paper to cover the fish and began to seal the packet by making folds all along the rim. I started at the fish's tail where the parchment was folded over itself and created a tiny triangle-shaped fold. I moved up about 1/2 inch and made another triangle fold on top of the point of the first and continued that way until I had almost sealed the entire packet. Each successive fold anchors the previous one. When there was only a small opening left in the parchment packet, I poured in 2 tbsps of white wine to help steam the fish, and completed the folding process.

Asparagus Risotto:
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup minced green onion
1 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine
3 cups chicken or fish stock
1 small pinch of saffron
1/2 lb asparagus, cleaned and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tbsp butter
salt to taste

Once the trout packets are sealed, heat the stock on the stove to simmering and add the saffron. In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium and then add the green onion. Sautee for 1 minute (stir constantly; do not let burn!)and add the dry rice to the pan. Stir to coat each grain with oil and toast for about 2 minutes. At this point, put the trout into the oven to bake/steam for 20 minutes. Add the wine to the rice and let feverishly bubble until it's almost totally evaporated. Then add the saffron stock ladle by ladle stirring constantly and waiting until the stock has been largely absorbed before adding the next ladleful. This will take between 15-18 minutes. Once the last ladleful of stock has been added, stir until it has been absorbed, add butter and salt, mix and cover for 2 minutes. The final result should be creamy and liquidy enough not to stay in a mound when you shake the plate.

Take trout out of the oven, open one packet and check for doneness (20 minutes was perfect for my standard-sized trout). Let your guests open their trout packets and spoon in the risotto themselves.


Anonymous rowena said...

That's a great idea, because I have never been one to cook trout other than over the grill or in a frying pan. Nice touch to have guests add the risotto to the packet!

4:57 PM  
Blogger Beenzzz said...

I happen to have some trout and parchment on hand. I think I know what I will be having for dinner tonight!

5:08 PM  
Blogger Scott at Real Epicurean said...

Great to see an entry so soon. Welcome to In The Bag!

I can never quite get the hang of risotto, so your recipe is something I will try.

7:09 PM  
Blogger ML said...

That looks great! Light, clean, refreshing.

9:38 PM  
Blogger Maria said...

Susan- Your right, what's not to love? Your trout in the bag and risotto look delicious! I just love fish dishes with white wine and lemon, yum, and it's healthy too!

12:10 AM  
Blogger hellomelissa said...

beautiful! you BAGGED that trout, baby!

just bought a nice bunch of fresh asparagus yesterday. one of the trio of "a" veges that i love (the others being artichoke and avocado).

4:43 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

I love fish cooked this way--they're guaranteed to stay moist. Great idea and lovely with the risotto.

5:23 AM  
Blogger Susan in Italy said...

Hi Rowena, How great to have a grill! If we grilled our neighbors would mutiny!

Hi Beenzzz, Excellent! Let me know how it turns out.

Hi Scott, If you want a risotto walk-through, here's the site for you:

Hi ML, Thanks!

Hi Maria, You're right, when you think about it there's very little fat in this yet I didn't notice it.

Hi Melissa, I love asparagus, avocadoes and artichokes too.

Hi Christina, Thanks!

3:41 PM  
Blogger Freya and Paul said...

I thought I had already left feedback for you the other day so sorry if this appears twice :)
I love fish cooked like this, it is stunning, simple and delicious! Fish as it should taste!
p.s. I love the Smiths, VU, Sex Pistols, Jonathan Richman AND MOST OF ALL THE MEAT PUPPETS WHO ARE MY MOST FAVOURITE BAND OF ALL TIME!!!!!!

9:44 PM  
Blogger Julia said...

Wow, I love this dish. I love that you've cooked the fish in a bag to match the event name, and I want some of that asparagus risotto right now!

Thank you so much for entering!

8:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe I'm just not seeing it, but when do you add the asparagus to the risotto?

The recipe looks absolutely delish and I'm looking forward to trying it!

12:30 AM  
Anonymous Dazy said...

I'm making this for dinner tonight. I think I'll try to shoot it, but I don't think it will be as pretty as your picture!

1:46 PM  

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