This would be a very elegant dish for Valentine's day and a small sea trout would feed two comfortably. It's a little fiddly to make, but because it can be prepared well ahead of time it's worth the effort.
Sea Trout en Gelée with Mayonnaise NantuaServes: 4
Sea Trout (also known as salmon trout) is a form of river trout that migrates to the sea, but returns to freshwater to spawn. They are larger than normal trout and their flesh has a pink salmon-like tinge. They are farmed today, and are much more commonly available than they were. However, you could substitute salmon or trout in this dish.
Ingredients:For the Mayonnaise Nantua
90g (3 oz) cooked shrimps or prawns (with shells)
300ml (1 1/4 cups) olive oil
1/2 tsp paprika
3 egg yolks
salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
For the Sea Trout:
1.35kg (about 3 lbs) salmon trout, gutted, scaled and cleaned
50g (2 oz) powdered gelatine
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
5 tbsp dry sherry
2 egg whites
For the Court Bouillon:
1 carrot, sliced
1 onion (peeled and stuck with 2 cloves)
1 bouquet garni
4 black peppercorns
1 1/2 tbsp vinegar
900ml (3 3/4 cups) water
salt, to taste
250ml (1 cup) cooked prawns
1 bunch of watercress
Method:Begin with the Mayonnaise Nantua. Peel the shrimps (or prawms), place the shells in a mortar and pound with the paprika and oil. Cover and set aside to infuse for 15 minutes.
In the meantime, chop the prawn meats coarsely. Strain the oil from the shells.
For the mayonnaise, whisk together the egg yolks and seasonings in a small bowl. Turn into a food processor and with the motor running add a few drops of the oil. Once the oil has incorporated into the eggs, still with the motor running add 2 tbs of remaining oil in a slow, steady, stream. When the mixture has thickened add the vinegar.
Now keep adding the oil in a slow, steady, stream until it has all been incorporated. Adjust the seasoning to taste then turn into a bowl and stir in the chopped prawns. Cover and set aside in the refrigerator as you prepare the sea trout.
for the sea trout, begin by preparing the court bouillon. Combine all the ingredients in a pan and bring to a boil. Cover the pan, bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Take off the heat and strain through a fine-meshed sieve.
Trim the sea trout and remove the gills (if your fishmonger has not done this already) then trim the tail, cutting it in a shallow 'V' (this is known as a vandyke). Curl the fish slightly then open the belly flaps a little and sit it, right way up, in a fish kettle.
Pour over the court bouillon then cover the fish kettle and poach for 25 to 30 minutes. Always poach fish over gentle heat and do not allow the liquid around the fish to boil. Take the fish off the heat and allow to cool naturally in the court bouillon. When cooled, carefully lift the fish onto a large chopping board. Skim any fat from the surface of the court bouillon and use blotting paper to remove any last specks.
Strain the stock into a clean pan and set aside. Dissolve the gelatine in a little cold water then set aside. Heat the remaining fish stock until the stock is just hot then add the gelatine, sherry and the egg whites. Continue whisking the mixture steadily until the stock comes to a boil.
Stop whisking at this point and allow the liquid to rise up to the top of the pan. Take the pan off the heat and set aside to cool for 5 minutes. After this time, place the pan back on the heat and bring to a boil once more. As soon as it comes to a boil, take off the heat and leave to settle. By this point the liquid should be clear (if not clear, repeat the boiling process once again).
Filter the aspic jelly you've just made through a clean cloth then set aside to cool before use.
Using scissors, snip the skin along the top of the trout then carefully peel the skin back and take it off (but leave the heat and tail intact). Now, with a sharp knife, cut through the backbone just below the heat. Ease your knife along the bone and gently lift the bone up and out, angling towards the tail. Cut it just short of the tail, then discard.
Pour a little of the cooled aspic over your serving dish and put aside to set. Now lift the sea trout with a palette knife and sit in the centre of the prepared serving dish.
Finely slice the cucumber then shell the prawns (but leave the heads in place). Arrange the prawns along the top of the fish then baste all over with the aspic. Decorate your dish wit the cucumber and watercress and serve with the mayonnaise Nantua.
Accompany with boiled new potatoes.
Chocolate Truffles (to serve with coffee)