Pan-broiled Rainbow Trout with Sage, Onions, and Wine


From New Southern Kitchen: Traditional Flavors for Contemporary Cooks by Damon Lee Fowler

4 small whole rainbow trout (about 8 ounces each), cleaned, scaled, and gutted
Salt and whole black pepper in a peppermill
Ground cayenne pepper
1 medium onion, trimmed, split, peeled, and sliced as thinly as possible
16 to 20 whole fresh sage leaves, plus small sprigs sage
4 large sprigs thyme, plus small sprigs thyme
8 pieces thin-sliced bacon, preferably hickory-smoked
2 lemons
1 cup dry white wine

1. Wash the fish under cold running water and pat dry. Sprinkle the belly cavity of each fish with salt, a few grindings of black pepper, and a small pinch of cayenne. Lay several slices of onion, 2 or 3 sage leaves, and a large sprig of thyme inside each belly cavity. Wrap 2 slices of bacon around each fish, secruing the ends with toothpicks, then tuck a couple of sage leaves under the bacon wrap. Remove the zest from 1 lemon in julienne strips with a zester, or remove it with a vegetable peeler and cut it into julienne strips with a sharp knife. Cut the lemon in half, then cut the other lemon into wedges for garnish.

2. Place a large, heavy-bottomed well-seasoned or nonstick skillet or sauté pan that will hold all the fish flat in one layer over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add the fish to the pan, and cook until the bottom side of the bacon is browned, about 3 minutes longer. Reduce the heat to medium, and continue cooking, turning once more, until the fish is cooked through, about 4 to 6 minutes longer. Remove the fish to a warm platter.

3. Spoon off all but a tablespoon of the fat that remain in the pan. Add the remaining onion to the pan, and stir until it is wilted and beginning to brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. Pour the wine in, and bring it to a boil, stirring and scraping the pan to loosen any of the brown bits of cooking residue. Add the lemon zest and the juice from one of the lemon halves. Bring the liquid back to a boil, and cook until the wine is reduced by half. Turn off the heat. Freshen the sauce with a squeeze from the other half of the lemon. Stir, taste and adjust the seasonsing, and pour it over the fish. Garnish the platter with the lemon wedges and sprigs of sage, and serve at once.

Serves 4.