Trout fillet steamed on a slice of cereal bread, Brussels sprouts, herbs, seeds

Jean Sulpice (remember this name, a rising star) is a young chef whose restaurant is beautifully located on the Annecy lake in the French Alps. The youngest chef to get a 1 Michelin stars (at the age of 26), the youngest chef to get 2 Michelin stars (31), trained by, among others, 3-star chef Marc Veyrat, he follows the principles of the latter, using wild plants and herbs that he collects himself in the surrounding mountains and working in a very close collaboration with his local suppliers. Local and seasonal!

I borrowed today one of his technique: cooking, or exactly, steaming a fresh water fish fillet on a slice of bread. For his recipe, Sulpice uses a local lake fish, the féra, an endemic freshwater whitefish. He cooks the fish on a stone heated by a woodfire, under a smoking dome. But the great originality of his recipe is that the fish is cooked a bread slice. Not served, or not only served, but steamed on a piece of bread. And this makes a great difference and I should admit that, although I was obviously teased by this technique, I was not sure of what to expect. And this is sublime. First of all, it is important to use a big loaf of bread, in which it is possible to cut several slices matching the size of the fillet. Secondly, the bread should be a good quality bread, such as a tasty country bread or a cereal bread that retains a lot of humidity and that will transfer its taste and its humidity to the fish. The third point is to butter the bread. Sulpice just butters the top on which he places the fish (flesh side) so that the butter enhances all the flavors at stake. I also butter the bottom, allowing the bread to grill and bringing a nice crispy texture. As I didn’t have smoking dome, big stone and a (practical) wood fire, I simply make it in a large pan, with the lid of my tagine dish, but a simple alloy foil will do the job too(I tested it). Here is the recipe.

You will not see your bread the same way.   

Levels of difficulty
Preparation time
Cooking time
15 minutes
15 minutes

Ingredients - 4 servings


§  4 filets of rainbow trout, non-skinned (or salmon, walleye, or any fresh water or anadromous fish although nothing prevents from using pure sea fish…)
§  4 slices of good quality country or cereal bread (here sesame, sunflower seed and other bread)
§  1 lb. of Brussels sprouts
§  1 handful of pine nuts (or other nuts)
§  1 handful of sunflower seeds (or other seeds)
§  4 pinches of fennel seeds (for instance)
§  2 handfuls of parsley (or another herb)
§  A few celery greens, fennel feather greens (or other greens) for taste and decoration
§  1 cup of heavy cream
§  Butter
§  Pink pepper corns
§  S&P

And a cast iron pan, a plancha… or a stone, with a smoking dome, a tagine lead or simply an alloy foil

1.     The fish
§  Preheat a large cast iron frying pan, on low medium (burner on #3)
§  Butter each side of the bread slices, generously on the top side, more parsimoniously on the bottom side
§  Place the fennel seeds, a couple of celery leaves, fennel greens and parsley leaves on the buttered top
§  Salt (moderately if you use salted  butter… my case!) and pepper the flesh side of the fish
§  Place the fish fillet on the bread, skin side up
§  Place the bread and the fish on the pan
§  Add a few herbs and seeds here and there in the pan
§  Cover the pan with a dome or an alloy foil
§  Count around 10 minute cooking but check regular. I find personally that the best way to know when it is cooked is when… you can start to remove the skin easily with a knife

2.     Serving
§  I serve the fillet with blanched Brussels sprouts quarter (4 minutes in salted boiling water, cooled down in iced water, then rapidly heated up in the pan where the fish was cooked)
§  I also made a parsley coulis with the parsley and the heavy cream
§  With toasted pine nuts and sunflower seeds to match with the bread, and a few pink pepper corns…
§  and a glass of Alsace’s Riesling, but a Savoy’s Apremont would be great with it to if you find one…