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FreshTartSteph Recipe: Fried Trout & Refrigerator Pickles


Have you been to Heidi's 2.0? If not, you're in for a stunning meal in a beautiful space.

Until you make it there, you can tie yourself over with meals at home from Chef Stewart Woodman's cookbook Shefzilla: Conquering Haute Cuisine at Home. The book launched this past fall, but it's all new to me. I asked for a copy for Christmas and didn't receive it...which worked out just fine because I got an in-person signed copy instead at the Food & Wine Experience a couple of weekends ago. Since reading Dara's review this past fall, I've been excited to dive in.

As I flipped through the book and pasted 40-plus sticky notes on recipes I'd like to make right now, the trout particularly appealed. For one, I've been having a crazy spring craving for pickled vegetables, dreaming of farmers markets and things that are crunchy, salty, and not braised.


Then there's the fact that trout is likely the most consistently fresh fish you can buy 'round these parts. Add the fact that there are flavor-punch details like toasted cumin seeds in the pickles, and honey in the trout's egg wash, and that everything is better fried, and that fried fish and pickles go together like spring plus fever...

It wasn't a difficult choice. The dish is straightforward and smart and heavenly, and Stewart thankfully agreed to let me share it here!

Fried Trout & Refrigerator Pickles

Recipe by Stewart Woodman from Shefzilla: Conquering Haute Cuisine at Home
Serves 4

For Refrigerator Pickles:
1 English cucumber
1 tsp. mustard seed, toasted
1 tsp. cumin seeds, toasted and ground
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. salt
1/2 c. rice wine vinegar
3 tsp. sugar
1 clove garlic

Rinse cucumber and, using a mandolin, slice very thin, into 1/8-inch rounds. Place in stainless mixing bowl.

Preheat small saucepan over medium heat. Add remaining ingredients (mustard seed through garlic) to pan and cook until mixture begins to simmer and sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes. Continue cooking 1 additional minute, until garlic is soft. Remove from heat.

Pour liquid over cucumbers and toss to evenly coat. Refrigerate to chill before serving.

For Trout:
1/2 c. matzo meal
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 egg whites
1/3 c. milk
2 Tbsp. High Heel Honey (made by my in-laws; substitute other honey as desired)
2 whole trout, scaled, split, heads and pin bones removed (or 4 skin-on trout fillets)
2 Tbsp. butter, divided
2 Tbsp. canola oil, divided
1 Tbsp. lemon juice

Mix together matzo meal, flour, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl.

Mix together egg whites, milk, and honey in a separate bowl.

Dip trout halves or fillets in milk mixture and then into matzo mixture. Set aside on plate.

Melt 1 Tbsp. butter and 1 Tbsp. oil in a large saute pan over high heat, bringing nearly to the smoking point.

Add 2 pieces trout and cook over medium to high heat until golden brown on both sides, about 5 minutes total. Add 1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice, baste fish with pan juices, and remove from pan. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Serve immediately with pickles.

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