Lake Trout and Steamed Asparagus with Toasted Walnut Salsa
This recipe is a riff off of an asparagus salad recipe I found a while back and it is amazing! Light, refreshing leaving you content and ready to go out for an evening stroll...or with enough room for a luscious dessert! Here in Minnesota, ice fishing season yields a lovely bounty of Lake Trout. They freeze well and if you have one in the freezer, pull that out and combine it with some wild asparagus which often grow in disturbed soil such as on the edges of farms, ditches or around old buildings in the spring. Otherwise, enjoy this with fresh lake trout straight out of the ice hole and buy some asparagus from the store. Or feel free to harvest wild asparagus along your favorite trout stream so you can enjoy freshly caught brown, rainbow, or brook trout alongside fresh wild harvested asparagus. No matter how you do it, enjoy every last morsel--you cannot go wrong.
1.5 lb of trimmed wild or cultivated asparagus
One large filet of trout (1.5 lb)
1 c of crushed, toasted walnuts
1 c finely grated stiff nutty cheese
1 large finely diced shallot (about ½ c)
¼ c white wine vinegar
½ c olive oil + more for drizzling
¼ c chopped tarragon
2 tbsp chopped thyme (about 5 or 6 sprigs)
1 tbsp rosemary (about 1 sprig)
2 crushed dried red chili peppers, or red pepper flakes to taste
One large lemon’s worth of preserved lemon peel cut into strips (mince a quarter of it)*
2 c water
Fresh cracked black pepper
One lemon, cut into discs for garnish or wedges for squeezing over each plate
*If you don't have preserved lemon, no big deal! Mix a little salt, lemon juice and lemon zest in a bowl, rub your fish with this. Add more lemon zest to the nut salsa to taste. This is also a very tasty option!
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lay trout, skin side down on baking sheet. Drizzle
fish with olive oil and lightly massage ¾ lemon peel into meat (reserving the minced lemon peel). Bake for 12 minutes or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.
While fish is baking, bring two cups of water to a boil for steaming asparagus.
While water is heating, allow shallot and white wine vinegar to soak in medium mixing bowl for a few minutes.
Place trimmed asparagus into steaming basket in pot of boiling water and turn down heat to medium. Steam until soft and tender, about five to ten minutes depending on asparagus size.
Meanwhile, add to vinegar/shallot mixture the herbs, remaining ¼ lemon preserves (minced), a pinch of salt and red pepper flakes to taste. Stir in the olive oil until a soft green condiment emerges. It should taste fairly herbal with a lemony peppery bite. Toss nuts into chutney and stir together. Add more salt to taste.
Serve however you like. My final presentation was with asparagus at base, drizzle with olive oil, cheese microplaned over the asparagus like snow, and then the piece of fish laid over the cheese. Spoon chutney over everything and drop your lemon wedges or slices in the serving dish so folks can grab and squeeze ‘em on their plate.