Spring is a wonderful time of year in the Cairngorms National Park but it is a particularly exciting time for chefs. Gone are the dark days of winter, the evenings are stretching out and fresh produce is starting to grow again.
It also means the start of the trout fishing season and this month’s recipe from Chris McCall, Head Chef at the Old Bridge Inn, is a delicious way to celebrate the first trout of the year.
“We usually get a call from Craig Ireland who owns Delfour Hatchery telling us his brown trout are back to condition after the winter spawning period.”
Chris tells us:
“Craig produces one of the finest products I have come across in all my years of cooking. His trout are so special because of the pride, care and patience he takes in rearing them. The hatching pools are spring fed by the cool fast flowing waters of the Monadhliath mountains, the native trout which only a hand full of people produce, take 3 long years to grow to market size.
“He has been rearing trout on Alvie estate since 1992 and has won countless awards including the Waitrose made in Britain award and the Countryside Alliance winner for Scotland. Craig stocks his unique stain of trout to lochs all over Scotland including Balmoral and Skebo.”
Chris takes great pride in serving Craig`s trout at the Old Bridge Inn with hundreds of people enjoying it every season. I’m sure you’ll agree it sounds delicious!
Baked fillet of Delfour Brown Trout, salad of asparagus, hogweed shoots and broad beans, wild garlic hollandaise.
You will need:
4 brown trout or sea trout fillets skin on about 130g each
For the salad;
16 asparagus spears
16 young hogweed shoots
150g broad beans
1 red onion finely diced
2 tomatoes peeled and deseeded then cut into strips
Vinaigrette to dress
20gs toasted pinenuts
For the hollandaise:
150g dry white wine
100g white wine vinegar
1 shallot finely minced
1 sprig of lemon thyme
Pinch of sugar
6 egg yolks
200g of melted butter.
100g finely sliced wild garlic leaves
1 tbsp. wild garlic chlorophyll
First make your wild garlic chlorophyll; this is to achieve a bright green hollandaise.
You start by placing 500g of wild garlic in a blender with 200g of water and blitzing it till bright green, then pass through a tea towel into a sauce pan discard what is left in the tea towel. You should be left with a green water.
Put the sauce pan onto a low simmer and you will see the chlorophyll separate from the water and rise to the surface. Pass this through another tea towel and you’ll be left with the green chlorophyll in the towel. This you can scrape off the towel and reserve in the fridge till needed.
Next prepare the salad by bringing a large heavily salted pan of water to the boil, Then cook the asparagus spears, broad beans and hog weed separately for 3 minutes each plunging them into iced water to stop them over cooking. Put the rest of the salad ingredients into a pan except the vinaigrette.
For the hollandaise reduce the white wine, vinegar, shallot and lemon thyme by half then place in a glass bowl with the egg yolks over a pan of boiling water, constantly whisking so they cook to a frothy thickened state. It is important to not overcook and scramble the mix.
Take the egg yolk off the heat and gradually incorporate the melted butter at a gradual slow stream. You cannot go too slowly with this stage!
Next season the hollandaise with salt pepper and lemon juice then add the chlorophyll and wild garlic. Keep warm not too hot.
Set the oven to 215 degrees centigrade
Season the trout fillets then place skin up on greased non stick tray, bake for about 4 minutes then peel the skin off when cooked and place on the warmed dressed salad.
Finish by spooning over the wild garlic hollandaise.
(If you are unsure of any of the techniques, you tube have many informative videos that will help.)