Paul McCord likes family dinners with big portions of flavorful food. His seared rainbow trout recipe is one that delivers.
McCord, 19, of Overland Park, is a second-year student in the culinary apprenticeship program at Johnson County Community College. He has saved most of the money he has ever earned while working, and he plans to open a contemporary home-style Italian restaurant.
Before that, though, he hopes to work at a restaurant in Italy and experience the flavors of food around the world.
McCord is not a fan of fancy restaurants that present sharp, unfamiliar flavors with “three dots of sauce and one ravioli” and a big bill at the end.
“If I invite my 27 cousins and their aunts and uncles and kids all over in my backyard, I want everyone to get a big plate of food,” he says.
The trout recipe is a simple but satisfying one, he says. Just remember to dredge the fish with flour before putting it in the pan. If you don’t, the fish will stick to the pan and won’t turn the right color. Also, be sure to use regular olive oil and not extra-virgin olive oil.
Recipe and food styling by Paul McCord, 19, a second-year student in the Johnson County Community College culinary program. He is an apprentice at the Bristol in Leawood.
About the column
Cooking 101 is a bimonthly column exclusive to The Star designed to introduce home cooks to basic cooking techniques. The recipe, food styling and photography are a joint project between culinary students and instructors at Johnson County Community College’s Hospitality Management Program.
Rainbow Trout in Lemon Caper Brown Butter Sauce With Butternut Squash Risotto
Makes 4 servings
For the risotto:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup mirepoix (1/2 cup diced onion and 1/4 cup each diced celery and carrots)
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups arborio rice
2 cups white wine
3 cups fish stock, heated to a simmer, divided
1 cup water
1 cup butternut squash puree (fresh, oven-roasted squash with just a touch of salt and oil is best)
1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
For the trout:
Salt and pepper
All-purpose flour, for dredging
4 trout, filleted
3 tablespoons olive oil (not extra-virgin)
8 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, cubed
Juice of 4 fresh lemons
1/2 cup capers, rinsed
For the risotto: Heat olive oil in a heavy-bottom stockpot over high heat. Add mirepoix and garlic and cook until softened. Add rice and stir constantly until the rice begins to toast and becomes lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add wine and reduce heat to a simmer. After about 5 minutes or when the rice has absorbed most of the wine, add 1 cup of simmering stock; stir for another 3 minutes or so.
Slowly add the rest of the stock and water and continue cooking about 15 minutes or until the rice becomes creamy and tender (it should remain a little al dente; also you should be able to stir the mixture but there shouldn’t have any extra liquid). Fold in roasted squash puree and cheese and reserve for serving. (Please note that it is best to serve risotto immediately.)
For the trout: Season and dredge trout to evenly coat with flour.
Add olive oil to a 12-inch skillet and heat for 1 minute over medium-high heat. Place trout in pan and saute 3 minutes or until golden brown, flip the fish and cook another 3 minutes; remove with a spatula and set aside.
Turn the heat down to low, add butter to the skillet and allow it to brown. Once butter is browned, add lemon juice and cook for a minute. Add capers to finish the sauce.
To serve: Spoon risotto on a plate and add fish fillets drizzled with butter caper sauce.
Per serving: 1,288 calories (58 percent from fat), 76 grams total fat (36 grams saturated), 190 milligrams cholesterol, 95 grams carbohydrates, 30 grams protein, 600 milligrams sodium, 2 grams dietary fiber.