Trout with Smoked Bacon

Trout with Smoked Bacon

Using very fresh, unsmoked trout with smokey bacon may seem like a stretch, but this is a great example of how seemingly disparate ingredients really do go together incredibly well.  Fish and bacon generally get on well, due mainly to the sweet/salty balance of the meat and the dense yet light flesh of the fish.  By cooking the trout gently with the bacon ensures the flesh is soft and tender without losing its juiciness.  Traditionally a medieval French dish, Truite au lard, I have adjusted this recipe to a cleaner, more 21st Century flavour (less fat too!). 

For this dish to truly succeed you need to find some tremendous smoked bacon – this is what provides the depth of flavour.  Try your local farmers market!

4 whole, fresh trout
8 rashers of smokey bacon
2 teaspoons tarragon, finely chopped
½ cup crisp white wine
1 spring onion, cut into batons
2 tablespoons olive oil
Juice and zest of a lemon
Plenty of chopped parsley

Pre-heat the oven to 185°C

Clean the trout and wash them to remove any residual impurities.
In a baking tray or generous terrine, lay out the smokey bacon to cover the entire base of the pan, leaving enough bacon left over to fold onto the trout.
Place the trout (head, tail, head, tail) onto the bacon and sprinkle over the tarragon and spring onion. 

Squeeze over the juice of the lemon and grate over the zest.
Fold the bacon up over the trout, covering the main belly of the fish.
Add the wine to the pan and drizzle over the olive oil.
Cover the fish with a sheet of baking paper, then cover the whole pan with foil.

Bake in a moderate oven for 15 minutes, then remove the foil and paper and bake for a further 10 minutes at a higher heat, allowing the bacon and fish to crispen up.  Remove the fish from the oven and allow it to rest for five minutes before serving.

Sprinkle over the parsley and a little extra lemon.

Serve with a fresh green bean salad or mashed potatoes.