“Sprouts, trouts, and wild mushrooms, oh my!”
This date night dinner was inspired by my dinner guest, my significant other. This dish came about for several reasons.
- The so-called Seafood Philosopher had yet to cook any fish
- My date really wanted to try brussels sprouts AND like them
- My date had never tried risotto, and loves mushrooms.
This was a good excuse to cook with mushrooms, which I have been more and more starting to enjoy. It was also a good excuse to show off my favorite fish to cook, the humble rainbow trout. (sorry if I cooked your friend, little buddy, please forgive me!)
(He was delicious though…)
There are two really good ways to prepare Brussels sprouts. And boiling them sure as hell isn’t one of them. This is the main reason that they have gotten a bad rap over the years. Parents mindlessly boiling Brussels sprouts and torturing their kids with them; well of course they aren’t going to like them. Maybe if you roasted them or caramelized them, or heck even did both, they might like them. These Brussels sprouts are caramelized and roasted. They are also mighty fine, I might add.
This risotto was creamy, yet firm, with a nice salty, earthy flavor. It may have been the best risotto I’ve ever had, and certainly the best I’ve ever made. I do have a horror story about arguably the worst thing I’ve ever made, which was a beet risotto.
I grew an extra pair of hands to watch over the risotto while I prepared everything else (thanks boo! <3)
Did I mention the wine? I haven’t had a real penchant for wine until lately. Riesling is my new favorite. I used it to cook the risotto and sprouts, and then we gladly drank the rest. And by drank, I mean we dominated the wine with the fervor of a thousand rainbow trout armies. (I don’t do winetastings.)
Oh and guess what else? I’m actually going to provide a recipe! Keep in mind that chef Adam recipes are generally ballparked, and I take no responsibility for the outcome of the dish if it doesn’t work out so well. If it’s great, well then, I’ll take responsibility. ^_^;;
1 large rainbow trout filet
1/2 lb. Brussels sprouts
wild mushrooms, such as porcini, morels, and chanterelles (these usually come dried in a variety mix)
5 cups chicken or vegetable stock
freshly pasted garlic, to taste
1 onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
sweet white wine such as Riesling, or a dry wine if you prefer
flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Dried mushrooms need to soak in warm water for at least an hour, and you need to remove the stems before slicing them thin.
The risotto is the most difficult and labor-intensive component, so I would suggest cooking the fish and sprouts first and keeping them warm in a low oven.
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. On a baking sheet lined with foil, season the rainbow trout filet with salt, pepper, smoked paprika, lemon juice, and olive oil. Heat oil in a pan over medium-high and add Brussels sprouts. Season with salt, pepper, and garlic. Cook for about 7 minutes without tossing or moving them around so that they can develop a nice golden brown color. Deglaze with some white wine, and then put it on the lower rack in the oven. Put the rainbow trout on the upper rack. Cook for about 12 minutes or until fishy is pink and flaky, and sprouts are tender.
Meanwhile bring the chicken stock to a boil, and keep on a simmer. Heat oil in a saute pan. Cook mushrooms for about 5 minutes with some of the garlic. Then remove the mushrooms and keep aside. Add some butter, and the onions. After the onions have softened and become more translucent, reduce the heat, and add the arborio rice.
Cook, stirring constantly for about 3 minutes or until the grains become more translucent. Add about 1/4 cup of the white wine, continue stirring until reduced.
The technique for cooking risotto is to add a ladle full of hot stock and stir the rice until the stock is absorbed, and then add another ladle full and continue until all the stock is absorbed. This process takes about 20 minutes and requires vigilance, so an extra set of hands can be really appreciated when cooking risotto. This will give the risotto a natural creaminess. My tip for knowing when to add more stock is to spread the rice and expose the bottom of the pot; if liquid doesn’t pool in this spot and quickly fill back up, then you are ready to add more stock.
When this is done, add the mushrooms back in, add about 3/4 cups parmesan cheese, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and add the chopped parsley. Garnish with more cheese and parsley.
Serve with the rainbow trout and Brussels sprouts, and don’t forget the wine!
Looking at these pictures now, I really want to have this dinner again. *sigh* Everything was truly splendiferous.
Until next time,
May the fish be with you, young rainbow trout!
~Maki Zavelli, over and out <(^_^<)