Trout has a glorious, rich, coral-orange colour when raw, and a delicate poaching for a few minutes is all that is required to cook it to perfection. Alas, even this gentle treatment causes some of that fantastic colour to fade to a rather less interesting pastel pink.
Jane Newton’s recipe, taken from her colourfully laid out manuscript book (MS1325, Wellcome Library) suggests introducing a touch of saffron to the poaching liquid which, she assures us, “will add to the seasonal colour beyond expectation.”
600g boneless trout fillets
4 spring onions, sliced
1tbs black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
12 stalks of parsley
a few sprigs of fresh herbs
4 slices lemon
pinch of saffron
English Butter Sauce
Standard Butter Sauce – see recipe here – made with 60ml freshly squeezed orange juice instead of water, and the following additions stirred in:
1tsp grated horseradish
½ nutmeg, grated
2-4 anchovy fillets, rinsed and chopped fine
4 slices white bread, crusts removed, toasted
- Put all of the ingredients for the poaching liquid into a wide pan and add 500ml water.
- Bring to the boil, turn the heat down, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Prepare the butter sauce.
- When the poaching liquid has simmered for 30 minutes, slide the fish in and allow to gently poach for 5-6 minutes, depending on the thickness of your fillets.
- Lay the trimmed toast into a serving dish and place the trout fillets on top.
- Spoon over a little of the butter sauce and serve the rest on the side.