Eating seasonally means to know what grows in one’s region. Sometimes this is hard, especially when we have become accustomed to items from the coasts or even overseas.
By RENEE KELLY
News flash, we live in the middle of the U.S.A., which means great seasonal foods and freshwater fish.
Enter one of the most pristine farms and hatcheries I have ever been to, Westover Farms in Steelville, Mo. The farm is preciously tucked away southeast of St. Louis. Along winding roads, a large log entrance three stories high marks the beautiful property of Westover Farms. A few more bends in the road among the fall leaves and we were at a turn of the century refurbished cabin.
The breeze was crisp and clean with the faint sounds of a bubbling brook in the foreground. Excited to stretch my legs I walked along the meandering stream looking for trout. The water was clear as a crystal ball with tiny bits of bright green foliage dotting the shoreline. Welcome to fish heaven.
Along my walk I noticed a slight skip to my step as I took in the clean happy air. I stopped to notice one of the fisherman, Tom. He was red in the cheeks from the cool air and his light gray sweatshirt matched the hue of the sky that day. He was catching our trout for dinner, which we would prepare in just an hour.
Possibly the freshest fish I have ever had to this day. Often people turn their nose up at freshwater fish, and I have yet to know why. The fish was an opaque light pink and firm to the touch. The aroma was that of the spring water running through the farm.
A bit of salt and pepper and simply seared in olive oil and finished with herbs proved to be a delightful treat for dinner. But not only did we fix it that way, we also dredged the trout in almonds, and grilled some over charcoal. All delicious.
Makes 6 servings
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic minced
1 tablespoons fresh chives chopped
1 teaspoons fresh thyme chopped
2 teaspoons fresh dill
6 trout filets
1 lemon juiced or 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoon olive oil for searing
Mix together the 2 tablespoons olive oil, garlic, chives, thyme, dill, set aside.
Season the flesh of the trout with sea salt and pepper. Heat the remaining 2 Tbs olive oil in a skillet on medium high heat. Place the trout skin side down in the pan. Sear for 2 to 3 minutes. This will crisp the skin. Flip the fish and sear for an additional 2 minutes. Add the garlic and herb mixture while the fish are finishing cooking. Remove the fish. Stir the garlic and herbs in the pan. Turn off the heat. Add the lemon juice or vinegar and stir. Cook for about 1 to 2 minutes. Spoon over the trout and enjoy.
Note: You can find this trout a little closer to home at Cosentinos Price Choppers, McKeevers Price Choppers, Justice Drugstore, Rieger Hotel, The Farmhouse, the Broadway Butcher and The Community Merc in Lawerence.
Renee Kelly is the owner of Renee Kelly’s Harvest in Johnson County. Her passion lies in changing the food system, one plate at a time. Her inspiration is Mother nature and the many growers in the Kansas City area.