Trial and error before trout: That is the inspiration behind Tristan Desetti’s pan-seared Idaho trout recipe.
Desetti was thrown into the frying pan when he was called on to cook the main dish of the day at Hallbrook Country Club.
“I had never cooked fish before, and I had to prepare the trout without any knowledge of the recipe beforehand,” says Desetti, who was only in his third week as a chef’s apprentice. “I overcooked it the first time, but I got it down.”
Desetti added Brussels sprouts in a creamy sauce with bacon bits, Parmesan and white truffle oil.
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“The truffle oil and Parmesan cheese really make the cream sauce stand out,” Desetti says. “It adds a unique sharp flavor that balances the earthy fresh taste of the trout.”
Seared trout is a relatively easy recipe to make, but Desetti says to pay attention to the heat when cooking the trout because it can quickly burn.
He also recommends cooking the skin side up: “It gives it a good sear color or grill marks on the presentation side of the dish,” he says.
About the chef: Tristan Desetti is a third-semester student in the Johnson County Community College Chef Apprentice and Hospitality Management Program. He currently works the fry/saute station and assists with any prep work for banquets, parties and other events at Hallbrook Country Club in Leawood.
About the column: Cooking 101 is an occasional column exclusive to The Star designed to introduce home cooks to basic cooking techniques. The column is a joint project between culinary students and instructors at Johnson County Community College.
Pan-Seared Trout With Brussels Sprouts in Creamy Parmesan White Truffle Oil Sauce
Makes 4 servings
4 (6-ounce) trout fillets, skin on
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup shredded Parmesan
2 teaspoons roasted red pepper seasoning
2 teaspoons white truffle oil, divided
1/2 cup clarified butter, or store-bought ghee
2 cups Brussels sprouts, trimmed, halved and blanched for 30 seconds in boiling water
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
3 to 4 strips bacon, cooked crispy and crumbled
2 tablespoons parsley, finely diced for garnish (optional)
Keeping the skin on, remove all the pin bones in each fillet. Season fillets with salt and pepper. Set aside.
In a small mixing bowl, combine Parmesan, pepper seasoning and 1 teaspoon white truffle oil; reserve 1 teaspoon of the seasoning mixture. Set aside
Optional step to make the clarified butter: Melt 4 sticks (1 pound butter) over medium heat. Continue to cook until all water and fat have cooked out of the butter, skimming as necessary.
In a large sauté pan, add 1 tablespoon clarified butter or store-bought ghee and heat over medium-high heat. Add blanched Brussels sprouts and sauté until lightly golden brown. Add heavy cream to Parmesan seasoning mixture and whisk to combine; add to saute pan and toss to completely coat the sprouts. Turn down heat and cook for 1 minute until cream starts to thicken. Remove from heat but cover with lid to keep warm.
In a skillet over medium heat, warm 6 tablespoons ghee or clarified butter. Place fillet presentation side down (non-skin side) and sear over medium to high heat, cooking 1 to 2 minutes per side. Set each fillet aside and keep warm. Continue to add more butter to the pan as needed and repeat until all fillets are cooked.
Add cherry tomatoes and bacon to the warm Brussels sprouts and toss.
To serve: Place a fillet in the middle of the plate. Ladle or spoon 1/2 cup of the Brussels sprouts over each fillet. Add remaining 1 teaspoon truffle oil to reserved seasoning mix and stir to combine. Drizzle oil mixture over fish and garnish the dish with parsley.
Per serving: 1,056 calories (77 percent from fat), 91 grams total fat (50 grams saturated), 346 milligrams cholesterol, 13 grams carbohydrates, 49 grams protein, 566 milligrams sodium, 3 grams dietary fiber.