in need of distraction: trout entrée to the rescue!

pan-seared trout with sautéed fennel and fried capers

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trout recipes

Today was meant to be a good day. The day my stitches come out after my dentistry adventure. Well the stitches came out. That was then followed by an impromptu root canal. A root canal. Why do my teeth hate me? I try to take care of them, give them a good life. Yet my nerve was apparently so unhappy that it desperately sought a way out. And now I’m left with a temporary filling that means, that’s right, several more trips to the dentist. It’s too discouraging to think about. So in an effort to distract myself… I thought I’d share this fantastic dish I made a ways back and never posted!

Up here in the Andes seafood is not the freshest ingredient to get our hands on. Which is why when a shipment does come in, I jump on it. I’m usually most excited for salmon, or tuna (which I can never afford of course, but I like looking at it and imagining…) but I never thought I’d be excited for trout. Plain old, caught it in the rivers growing up, trout. Maybe it’s the feeling of seeing something so… home. I jumped on it. And I mean that rather literally, because there is so little of the fish that you really do need to be nimble to make sure you leave with any of it!

Being as it is a humble fish, I wanted to do something rustic with it but playing with flavors and dressing it up with some unexpected ingredients. Like fennel! Maybe that doesn’t sound unexpected to you, but I have seen fennel here all of one time. And that one time just so happened to coincide with finding trout. Talk about a successful grocery run!

entree appetizer with trout fennel recipe

pan-seared trout, sautéed fennel and fried capers with red wine dressing recipe

2 small trout fillets
2 tbsp capers
1 tsp olive oil
1 fennel bulb, sliced
1/4 tsp ras el hanout
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
sea salt
fennel fronds, for garnish
for red wine dressing:
1/2 tsp red wine vinegar
1 1/2 tbsp red wine
1 garlic clove, crushed
sea salt, extra
cracked black pepper
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

To make the dressing, combine red wine vinegar, red wine, garlic, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Slowly add olive oil to the mixture, whisking constantly until thickened. Set aside.

Heat a cast iron pan over medium heat. Using paper towel, squeeze as much of the liquid from the capers as possible. Place directly into the pan and fry, turning the capers until crispy. Remove capers from pan, set aside and keep warm.

Add olive oil to pan and increase heat. Add the sliced fennel and sautée for 1 minute. Add ras el hanout and sea salt, tossing to coat. Sautée until caramelized. Add cherry tomatoes and cook until just starting to burst. Set the fennel/tomato mixture aside and keep warm.

Reduce heat back to medium and add some more oil, if needed. Place trout fillets in the pan, skin-side down. Cook for 1-2 minutes, flip and cook for about one more minute.

Place fennel/tomato mixture on plates, then the trout fillets on top. Top with red wine dressing and garnish with fennel fronds.

pan seared trout recipe

I may need to spend more time with my teeth from now on. I hope you understand. It’s about priorities, you see…

posted in meatless wonders, the opening act .

56 Responses to in need of distraction: trout entrée to the rescue!

  1. So, so sorry to hear about your teeth troubles. Root cancals are the worst! There are a ton of smoothie recipes on my blog if you need them… after breaking my jaw I went nuts on those and soups. And oatmeal made smooth with an immersion blender. 😉

    In the meantime, I’ll enjoy this trout for you.

  2. Ouch! It hurts just reading what you have described the teeth problem.
    The trout looks so tempting!

  3. Brittany says:

    Ugh I am so sorry to hear about your root canal!! That has to be awful. At least you are getting things taken care of before they worsen!! Yum to this meal!

    • kale says:

      i know you’re right… and Murphy’s Law has certainly been true many times in the past! better to nip it in the bud. 😉

  4. Okay, NOW a root canal? What the heck?

    I won’t tell you about my root canal. I’ll just say…let’s have fish! 😉

  5. What a beautiful dish for your precious trout. I love trout. It has such a delicate flavor and you’ve done a wonderful job making sure that shines through.

    I can totally relate to your dental woes. Last year I had a tooth go bad to the point that they couldn’t save it and called my husband while I was partially sedated to have it removed. Not a fun experience, but I survived. Thank heavens they’re catching your tooth in time. I ended up having an implant done. Not painful, but VERY expensive. Hang in there! Like everything else, this too shall pass. 🙂

  6. I spent way too long not liking fennel–little did I know how delicious it is sautéed. I’m a total sucker for seafood too. This looks so tasty!

  7. Lovely and fish is my other half’s number one diet. I am not sure if I can find some of the ingredients. And so need to modify, use of the locals and create the same for our meal at home.

  8. I feel your pain, I am wincing just thinking about your recent teeth trauma.

  9. I adore smoked trout and had some great Peruvian smoked trout a few years ago! I hope you feel better soon! Toothpain is so difficult isn’t it? 🙁

  10. I’ve just had many consecutive trips to the dentist so can understand your situation. Lovely trout to cheer you up though!

  11. Amy Tong says:

    Sorry about your issues with the teeth. I totally feel your pain. I lost count on the teeth that I had root canals! Really dislike those trips that I have to make back and forth the dentist office.

    On a lighter note, your trout creation looks like one from a 5-star restaurant! Totally gorgeous and scrumptious!

    • kale says:

      wow, thank you! a trip to any restaurant is rare so it’s a treat to have a pretty plate of food at home now and again. 🙂

  12. cquek says:

    Loving the burst of colors in this delightful treat!

  13. Sissi says:

    I love trout! I certainly prefer it from the fatty salmon actually. Your dish looks so fresh and light, I almost feel as if it was already spring! I hope your visits to the dentist will end soon.

  14. Beth says:

    Poor you! I hope your trips to the dentist go okay. In the meantime, your trout looks lovely.

  15. Dara says:

    I adore trout – and fried capers? Great addition. Found you through G+ and I am so glad I did.

  16. Food Jaunts says:

    Oh wow – dentist craziness. Totally feel for you, I go in dreading possible dental procedures and it’s always a big sigh of relief when I just get the standard cleaning.

    Love that crispy skin you’ve got on the trouts and the fennel offers such a great pop of color against it.

    • kale says:

      yeah, my D looked at me rather sternly when i admitted how long it had been since i’d had any kind of check-up. i’m such a procrastinator, waiting until there’s pain and i have no choice but to do something about it!

      isn’t crispy fish skin the best? better than chips!

  17. rebecca says:

    lovely blog thanks for visiting mine, and gorgeous trout recipe would love to visit ecuador are you on facebook, twitter so I can follow

    • kale says:

      thanks for your comment, rebecca! i’m pretty old fashioned when it comes to media sites, just having this blog is a big step for me! haha but i’ll keep ya posted if i work up the nerve to get “tastes good to me!” out there in a bigger way. 🙂

  18. Hope your mouth is on the mend! I think your trout looks delicious.

  19. Liz says:

    Oh, I’m sorry about all your teeth woes…no fun (especially for a foodie!). Your trout dish is gorgeous…it looks like it came from a fine restaurant. We’re the same way here in the landlocked Midwest…it’s hard to get fresh fish at a decent price.

  20. Andy says:

    I hate root canals more than anything, Had two of them done and I ask myself that same question all the time lol!

    Thank you so much for sharing the recipe with us 🙂

  21. Ouch…. I hope you are feeling better about your teeth. When I had my wisdom teeth out, it was painful. And I lost a few pounds because I couldn’t eat much.
    Anyhow, your fish looks perfect. Love all the fresh veggies that go with it.

  22. Natalie says:

    Oh my goodness this looks amazing. I have been trying out recipes with capers lately and the taste is always phenomenal.

  23. A successful grocery run indeed and the end result looks fabulous. So intrigued by your life in the Andes!

  24. oooh, I know your pain. I had all four of mine out when I was in my early 30’s. No pain but rather long recovery. That fish dish looks delicious…so many flavors that I like together. Here I have to stare at red snapper…always so expensive.

  25. I really hate dentist stuff. The very thought makes me cringe.. The sound of the drill and the taste of those gloves. BLERGH. Loving this entree. I think that fennel isn’t given enough credit 🙂

  26. Joanne says:

    There’s little I hate more than dentistry! Ugh, so sorry you have to go through this! At least you have good meal memories to get you through!

  27. Carolyn Jung says:

    Oh nooooo about the root canal. Those kind of surprises are ones nobody wants. Poor you. But I’m glad you recovered, and are in such good spirits that you could turn out such a fabulous dish. That would make anyone feel better. 😉

  28. Mmm, this trout looks yummy. I love that you used fennel. And, I’m with you; my teeth hate me. I’ve had 2 root canals and 7 fillings. No matter how often I brush, I always need dental work. Boo!

  29. kale, i know exactly how you feel! im only 20 and ive had 2 root canals and over 20 cavities! don’t worry, root canals don’t hurt at all! just make sure to get a numbing needle 🙂

  30. emma says:

    This sounds wonderful – I’m going to try it with salmon.
    Beautiful picutres – if you don’t mind me asking, what sort of camera do you use?
    I hope your teeth are feeling much better now – keep blogging – it’s obviously a good distraction!
    Best wishes,

    • kale says:

      thanks for your comment and kinds words, emma!
      we have been using a very basic canon powershot for the pictures. i try to get as much light as possible and i spend a lot of time thinking about the different points of view i want from the plate. then in the editing room (aka the bedroom where my husband’s desk/laptop is) we add a little contrast and tone. and that’s it! unless i want a different effect to the image, for fun or to maintain a theme that relates to the post, i like to stay loyal to the original picture, which is why i try hard to get the right shot to begin with, and just enhance it a touch.
      one day i’d love to be able to upgrade but for now, we’re happy with our rustic pics that focus on food. 🙂

  31. That trout looks delicious – I hope your teeth are all better soon!

  32. SOs orry about all the teeth problems. I think you did a fabulous job with your dish and it does sound all exciting. I a a frist time visitor and read your about page, I am in Montreal.

  33. Yikes! I had a horrible experience w a root canal once, they ripped into my sinus canal 🙁 No fun.
    On a positive note, this looks wonderfully tasty, I love trout.

  34. anne says:

    Ouch ! Teeth problem is the worst 😛 Hope the several more trips to the dentist will cure your woes once and for all 😀

    I have yet to try trout and salmon is so much cheaper here esp frozen ones . Tuna though is also expensive *sigh* That trout dish looks mouthwatering ! You’ve made the humble trout looks expensive in this dish 😉

  35. Hotly Spiced says:

    I’m so sorry to hear about your teeth dramas. Root canal is so awful. I do hope you get through all your procedures okay xx

  36. Emma says:

    It has been so many years since I’ve been to a dentist. Now that I finally have dental insurance again, I am frickin PETRIFIED to schedule a visit. What will they find? How much will it hurt? How much of a perverse grin will they have on their face as they probe the sides of my gums to measure recession and depth?

    But trout. Sweet lovely trout. I have always seen trout as something special, even though it is relatively close to me geographically. It’s such a treat to catch a trout (try saying that five times fast), you know? Yesterday morning we had one wee little pan-fried trout for breakfast, stuffed with a few scallions. Decadent but simple:)

    • kale says:

      do it. just do it. while it is minutely affordable, go my friend! it is such a treat to catch a trout (i got to four) 🙂

  37. Kankana says:

    I have gone through so mant root canal. Hate dentist and all these tooth problem. Hope you feel better soon!

  38. Hi Kale! I’m so sorry to hear about your root canal especially after your dentistry adventure (ouch, but the story was HYSTERICAL!). It’s never fun to have root canals done or to have your wisdom teeth pulled – I had a root canal done this morning, too 🙁 I hope you feel better soon! But this trout with fennel looks so beautiful and delicious! 🙂

    • kale says:

      thanks for your comment! i am happy my sometimes horrifying experiences can entertain. 😉
      and i’m sorry for your root canal! no matter how tempting, stay away from crunchy food. trust me. it hurts.

  39. So fun to have found your blog. Thanks for leaving me a little note so that I could find you:)

    Your trout and fennel look like a great pair!

    I’m so sorry about your tooth pain – there is nothing worse.


  40. This looks great! And now I am craving for some fried capers…

  41. Erica says:

    Sorry to hear about your teeth!I hate going to the dentist :)tout is one of my favorite fish and this dish looks delicious…great combination of flavors! Thanks for visiting my blog!

  42. Michelle says:

    Oh no! Teeth troubles are no fun! But the fish looks delicious!

  43. Lawrence says:

    Awesome recipe for kicking fish up a notch! TY! 😉

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