Normally, this recipe would be the final installment of our weekly chef interview. But since we interviewed both Ericka Burke and Heather Earnhardt (you can read the interview here and here), chefs and co-owners of Volunteer Park Cafe, we've doubled this week's recipe count.
Both Burke and Earnhardt have written recipes for Meyer lemons, the milder, sweeter, and less acidic lemons that are currently at the peak of their season. Today, feast your eyes on Burke's savory Roasted Trout with Meyer Lemon and Fennel Salad, and check back tomorrow for Earnhardt's sweet Meyer Lemon Tart with Rosemary Cornmeal Crust.Whole Roasted Trout with Meyer Lemon- Fennel Salad
4 whole trout, gutted (I like to keep the head on, but you can ask your fish market to remove it if you wish.)
1 fennel bulb, core removed and sliced very thin
1/2 yellow onion, sliced very thin
8 thyme springs (two per fish)
2 Meyer lemons (zest using a microplane, zest reserve for salad.) Slice each lemon into 4 equal round slices (yielding 8 total slices)
sea salt to taste
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (reserve 4 tablespoons for plating)
Preheat oven to 400. Season each trout cavity with salt, follow with 2 slices of Meyer lemon. Stuff each fish with fennel, onion and thyme sprigs. Place stuffed trout on a baking sheet. Drizzle generously with olive oil. Bake fish for approximately 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven when flesh is tender and skin is slightly crispy.
2 cups (packed) baby watercress or baby arugula
1 fennel bulb, core removed and very thinly sliced
1 shallot, peeled and sliced into thin rounds
1/2 cup Picholine olives, pitted and sliced
1 Meyer lemon, trimmed and quartered. Julienne each quarter very thin, lengthwise. Discard seeds as they appear.
reserved Meyer lemon zest
1 tablespoon fennel seed, toasted and coarsely ground (in spice/coffee grinder)
2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns, toasted and coarsely ground (in spice/coffee grinder)
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
sea salt to taste
Place all ingredients, except watercress/arugula and pine nuts in mixing bowl. Combine ingredients well and allow to sit for 5 minutes. When ready to serve, add greens. Toss in pine nuts.
Place whole roasted trout on dinner plates. Mound salad next to fish. Drizzle fish with reserved olive oil, or serve oil on the side.
You may wish to serve fish with a starch. I suggest mashed Yukon potatoes, cous cous or roasted winter squash.