Grilled Trout with Herbs and Pancetta
By Chef John Ash
Sustainable farm raised trout are readily available in the market. This recipe would work well with any fresh herbs you have on hand. For example, easily substitute rosemary for the sage and parsley for the mint. You could serve the trout as is or make onions agrodolce to serve with it, which are also featured in the recipe. A rich and bright Sonoma-Cutrer chardonnay, such as Les Pierres, makes the perfect pairing for this dish.
Total Time 45 minutes
Prep Time 20
Difficulty Level Medium
2 tsp finely chopped mint (Trout)
2 tsp finely chopped sage leaves (Trout)
1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest (Trout)
1 whole trout, cleaned and boned (8–10 oz) (Trout)
Olive oil (Trout)
Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper (Trout)
4 thin slices of pancetta or bacon (Trout)
1/2 c extra virgin olive oil, divided (Onions Agrodolce)
2 large white onions, peeled, halved and sliced (about 5 c) (Onions Agrodolce)
5 large cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced (Onions Agrodolce)
2 bay leaves (Onions Agrodolce)
1 tsp black peppercorns (Onions Agrodolce)
1-1/3 c white wine vinegar (5%) (Onions Agrodolce)
1/2 c fresh orange juice (Onions Agrodolce)
1/3 c golden raisins (Onions Agrodolce)
1/3 c toasted pine nuts (Onions Agrodolce)
2 tbsp aromatic honey, or to taste (Onions Agrodolce)
Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground pepper (Onions Agrodolce)
For the trout: Prepare the grill for direct heat. If using a gas grill, preheat to medium (350 degrees). If using a charcoal grill, light the charcoal or wood briquettes; when the briquettes are ready, distribute them evenly under the cooking area.
For the trout: For a medium-hot fire, you should be able to hold your hand about 6 inches above the coals for about 6 or 7 seconds. Have ready a spray water bottle for taming any flames. Lightly coat the grill rack with oil and place it on the grill.
For the trout: Combine the mint, sage and lemon zest in a small bowl. Open the trout like a book; lay it flat on a cutting board flesh side up. Brush with olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the herb mixture over the inside of the trout. Fold the fish over to close.
For the trout: Wrap the fish with the pancetta and brush lightly with olive oil. Gently place the fish, with the open side away from you, on the hot grill. Close the grill lid and cook for about 8 minutes, until the flesh is opaque.
For the trout: Carefully slide a large spatula or fish turner underneath the fish to transfer it to a plate. Top with a spoonful or two of the onions agrodolce and serve warm or at room temperature.
For the onions: Add olive oil to a large skillet and set the pan over medium-low heat. Add the onions, garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns and cook very gently, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and golden, 25 minutes or so.
For the onions: Stir in the vinegar, orange juice, raisins, pine nuts and sugar and raise the heat to medium and simmer for 8 - 10 minutes or so or until lightly thickened.
For the onions: Season to taste with salt, pepper, and sugar. Store covered and refrigerated for up to 4 weeks. Bring back to room temperature to serve.