Trout au Bleu

By his mid-twenties, Hemingway was a connoisseur of trout dishes. This method was one of his favorites. . . Ideally, the trout should be alive immediately before cooking to produce the blue color in the skin and the freshest taste. You may, though, use very freshly killed fish from the market. Because of the necessity for very fresh or live fish, this dish is not very well known.
4 servings

1 pint vinegar
2 tablespoons salt
4 carrots, sliced
4 onions, quartered
Sprig of thyme
1 bay leaf
Spring of parsley
Dash of crushed red pepper flakes
6 peppercorns
4 live or very fresh trout
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
4 tablespoons melted pepper

In a large pot, prepare a court bouillon: to 5 quarts water add the vinegar, salt, carrots, onions, and herbs in a bunch (you may want to bundle herbs in cheesecloth). Bring to a boil, then decrease heat and simmer for 1 hour. After 50 minutes, add the red pepper flakes and peppercorns (if added earlier they will impart too much bitterness to the broth). When the court-bouillion is done, strain through a fine sieve and reserve the liquid.

Pour the liquid into a shallow pan and bring to a boil. For live trout, kill the fish with a sharp blow to the head (see The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook for an introduction to coping with the trauma of fish murdering.) With minimal handling, gut and clean the fish. Plunge the fish into the boiling broth and simmer for 6-7 minutes for small trout, 8-10 minutes for larger fish. Remove the fish, drain, garnish with fresh parsley and serve immediately with the melted butter poured over the fish.

Excerpted from The Hemingway Cookbook by Craig Boreth (c) Craig Boreth 1998. Used with permission of Craig Boreth.