Golden trout steamed on a bed of “burned” citrus rinds, served with leeks cooked in citrus butter, a sherry and citrus “soup”, some raw citrus segments, and Timut peppercorns

Trout is a fish that I used to like a lot when I was a kid. First of all, because I was fishing it. All “kids” from 3 to 103 adore to eat the product of their fishing feats. It is obviously much better than the anonymous fish bought gutted, scaled and fileted at the fishmonger’s… I generally spent the end of my summer vacations at my grandparents’ house in the Vosges area, a small mountain in the East of France. I keep from those periods many delicious memories of times spent with my grandfather, foraging for mushrooms (chanterelles, porcini…) and wild blueberries in surrounding forests, and savoring them under the form of fricassees or pies beautifully cooked by my grandmother. This has surely contributed to, and fed, my passion for cooking. Fishing the trout was part of those alimentary activities although I should confess that the "feat factor" was very relative as this was taking place in a trout farm built along one of the many brooks running down from the Vosges mountains. Afterwards, my grandmother used to cook the fish either “au bleu”, where the fish just caught out of the water was rapidly poached in a court-bouillon, taking a beautiful night blue color, or “aux amandes”, i.e. seared in a simmering butter and served with grilled almonds. Getting older, I had become less keen about the trout, mainly because for a certain period of time in France, the farming had turned into more intensive and industrial businesses, using and abusing questionable food that gave a starchy taste to the fish. That said, I have recently bought some (farmed) trout at my favorite grocery store, which has proven of a very good quality, and I have started to cook it again… but not yet “au bleu”, alas!

This is why, when I saw this beautiful golden trout of a respectable size (4 lbs.), I didn’t hesitate one second even though I didn’t know then how I would cook it: whole in the oven, fileted and seared with grilled almonds, cooked on pine needles with pine nuts… Eventually, inspired by the French chef Éric Guérin, as well as by the matching colors of a pink grapefruit and the golden trout, I decided to cook  it with citruses and leeks. I deviated a tiny bit from Guérin’s recipe, substituting leeks to broccolini, but also and mainly, instead of cooking it classically in a steam cooker, I steamed the trout filets on the grapefruit, orange and lemon rinds. I first literally burn them in a pan without any fat ingredient, then add some Sherry to add to the grapefruit bitterness and a glass of water, thus creating an aromatic steam. I placed the filets on the rinds, skin side down, and cover with a lid, out of the burner, for around 10 minutes  or till the white albumin appeared on the fish surface. Honestly, this is a fabulous way of cooking: it doesn’t aggress the fish at all and flavors it nicely.

For another unusual way (on a slice of bread) to cook trout or freshwater fish, go on https://www.cookingismuchmorethanrecipes.com/2019/03/unusual-techniques-fish-steamed-on.html

Levels of difficulty
30 minutes

30 minutes

4 servings


§  1 golden trout of around 4 lbs., gutted, scaled, and cut in filets, skin on
§  1 organic pink grapefruit
§  2 organic oranges
§  1 organic lemon
§  4 leeks, cut in thin slices (or broccoli, broccolini, spinach…)
§  A few slices of baguette (or other bread), cut in dices
§  1 garlic clove
§  5 oz. of butter at room temperature
§  2 shots of Sherry (or Noilly Prat)
§  Timut peppercorns
§  A couple of chive stems, chopped
§  Olive oil
§  Salt

§  Mix the butter with a mix of grated citrus rinds, and reserve
§  Put around 4 oz of the butter in a pan, on medium/low, add the leek, and let cook gently till the leeks get translucent and soft
§  Extract the supremes (wedges without the skin) from the grapefruit, the orange and the lemon, cut them  in approx. 1 cm segments (brunoise), reserve the rinds and recuperate the juice
§  Put the rinds in a pan, no fat, on medium high, and external sides down, till they are quasi burned
§  Then add the first shot of Sherry, let evaporate, and 1 glass of water to create steam
§  Move the pan out of the burner, place the filets previously salted on the rinds, skin side down, and cover with a lid for around 10 minutes or till the white albumin appears on the fish surface. Optional: cut the filet in two parts, the back with the golden skin, and the belly with the white skin, remove the white skin.
§  Place the remaining citrus butter in a saucepan, on medium low, add the recuperated juice and the second shot of sherry. When it is simmering, add the citrus brunoise, except a dozen of raw grapefruit segments kept for decoration, and let it warm up out of the burner
§  Put the baguette dices in dish with the olive oil and the crushed garlic clove, and grill in the oven till obtaining nicely colored croutons
§  Plate the leeks on the plate, cover them by the trout filets, skin on and off, top the whole with the croutons and the spare raw grapefruit segment, place around the cooked citrus segments with their cooking juice, and spread the Timut peppercorns and the chive
§  It was delicious with a crispy Mâcon-Villages Chardonnay, but a Chablis or a Puilly-Fumé will perfectly make the job too…