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Vivian plans a respite from the road during the holidays, but finds herself equally busy at home. She volunteers at a soup kitchen and does one last book signing in Kinston before the holidays. Vivian also visits Sunburst Trout Farms and prepares a Feast of the Seven Fishes dinner at the restaurant where trout from roe to filet shines.
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Featured Ingredient: Trout
Whole Trout with Apple Mustard and Charred Cabbage Apple Slaw
Let this be the dish that converts you to cooking whole fish, which may require a trip to the fishmonger’s or seafood market. From “Deep Run Roots: Stories and Recipes from My Corner of the South,” by Vivian Howard (Little Brown, 2016). This recipe is featured in Chasing Trout in Season 5 of A Chef's Life.
- 4 whole rainbow trout
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 20 turns of the pepper mill or scant 1 teaspoons black pepper
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 lemon, sliced thin
- 4 sprigs sage
- 4 sprigs rosemary
- ⅔ cup Apple Mustard
- Apple Mustard
- 1 ½ pounds apples, diced, skin and core intact (6 cups)
- 2 yellow onions, diced
- ½ small orange, sliced thin, seeds removed
- 1 cup apple cider
- 1 cup water
- 1 ½ cups dark brown sugar
- ⅓ cup smooth Dijon mustard
- ⅓ cup cider vinegar
- ½ teaspoon cayenne
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 star anise
- 4 cloves
- 3 sprigs thyme
- Season each fish, inside and out, with 3 tablespoons olive oil, black pepper, and salt. Stuff the cavity of each fish with lemon slices, 1 sprig sage, and 1 sprig rosemary.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a 12inch cast iron skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium high heat. Once it’s shimmering, add 2 trout and brown them on both sides. If your pan is nice and hot, it should take about 3 minutes per side. Transfer them to a baking sheet. Add remaining oil and brown the remaining trout. Slide all four trout onto the middle rack of your oven and roast for 15 minutes.
- Serve warm with the apple mustard and slaw.
- For the Mustard:
In a 4-quart Dutch oven or saucepan, combine the apples and their cores, onions, orange slices, cider, water, sugar, mustard, vinegar, cayenne, and salt. Put the star anise, cloves and thyme in a sachet and drop it in. Bring it up to a boil, cover, and cook for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to a very low simmer and cook for an hour, checking periodically to make sure the pan is not dry.
- Remove the sachet and transfer the contents of the pot to a blender and blend till totally smooth. Put the apple butter back in the Dutch oven and cook uncovered on low heat another 20 minutes. Adjust the seasoning with salt or brown sugar to your liking.
Yield: 4 servings
Charred Cabbage Apple Slaw
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 small red onion, peeled and sliced, into ⅛ inch rounds
- 1 small head green, purple, or savoy cabbage
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt, divided
- 1 large Fuji or other crisp eating apple
- 2 ribs celery, sliced into ⅛ inch slices on the bias
- 10 turns of the pepper mill, or scant ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill
- ½ cup Salt-and-Butter Roasted Pecans
- Salt-and-Butter Roasted Pecans
- 2 cups pecan halves
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- ¾ teaspoon salt, divided
- In a small bowl, whisk the vinegar, ¼ cup water, and the honey till the honey dissolves. Add the red onion. Set aside.
- Cut the cabbage into 12 wedges, leaving the core attached. Heat a 12-inch cast iron skillet or saute pan over medium-high heat, and add olive oil. Sear the cabbage on the cut sides till they are charred, not golden brown—dark and charred. Season the cabbage with 1 teaspoon salt and set aside to cool.
- Just before you assemble your slaw, cut the 4 sides of the apple off its core. Then slice the apple into ⅛ inch thick slices.
- In a medium bowl, toss together the cabbage, the onions with their liquid, apple, celery, black pepper, lemon juice, dill and remaining salt. Let this mingle while you cook the fish. Just before serving, stir in the pecans.
- For the Pecans:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Toss the pecans thoroughly with the melted butter and ½ teaspoon of the salt. Spread them out in a single layer on a baking sheet and slide that sheet onto the middle rack of your oven. Roast the pecans for 11 minutes if using pecan halves or 10 minutes if using pieces.
- Bring the slightly darkened and toasty-smelling pecans out of the oven and hit them with the remaining
- salt. Let them cool 5 minutes before you eat them. These will keep for 2 weeks in an airtight container at room temperature.