This meal came ‘full circle’ if you will. I remember a summer vacation to Greece – it was 1983 and we had just spent the weekend during Panagias (Aug. 15th) in the Panagia Soumela and Naoussa area of central Macedonia. After feasting on roast-roasted rotisserie goat there was no room for food on that day but my good uncle was still in the mood to drive us around and appease the grumpy kids who just spent the whole weekend doing “adult things”.
He saw one of those “catch your own fish” ponds, it was filled with trout and you paid for whatever fish was caught. As I recall, I caught a fish real quick so either I was a seasoned fisher or that damn pond was packed with trout. As is the norm in Greece, it was a bright and sunny and the fish’s skin change colour in the light. Yep, these were rainbow trout.
Rainbow trout is one of my favourite fish with it’s pink meat that reminds one of salmon, the mild flavour and with the omega 3 fats in it, it’s a healthy fish and very forgiving when cooking it. Today I’m serving the trout on a bed of yellow beans. Yellow because the contrast in colour with the trout would look fab on a plate. I had some green beans with caramelized shallots in the Kitchen of the Dragon and I was inspired.
The Greek in me used caramelized red onions and some wonderful red wine vinegar I picked up last year from the Ergon “all Greek” store in Thessaloniki. This red wine vinegar is made with Xinomavro grapes, a northern Greek wine varietal that’s translated as “sour black”. If given a little coaxing in the pan, wine vinegar will sweeten up in a pan and when you combine the sweet/sour of the reduced wine vinegar and play that against the sweet onions – good things are happenin’!
Another unique ingredient I brought back from Greece (also available at the Ergon store) is this jar of grape vine shoots. Made exclusively by Marianna’s (famous for her grape leaves and dolmades), these shoots are picked from the ends of grape wines and pickled for use in salads or as a stand-alone meze. These are tender, a little briny with some tartness and they taste must like jarred grape leaves. The vine shoots added some colour to the yellow beans and rounded the flavours for this remarkable easy yet delicious fish and beans dish.
The way this meal plays out is easy, prep the beans and reserve on a platter, serve the grilled fish on top and finish with a ladolemono (oil/lemon) sauce punched up with chopped capers, mustard, parsley and oregano/thyme. The sauce from the beans mingles with the oil/lemon sauce, the fish tastes good with both and the final touch is a bottle of Kir Yanni (Boutari) Akakies Xinomavro Rose. The winery is just a short drive from that fishing pond where I fished that trout just outside of Naoussa. Now we’ve come full-circle!
Grilled Trout With Yellow Beans, Red Wine Vinegar & Grape Shoots
2 large whole rainbow trout, scaled and gutted
1 lb. yellow beans, ends trimmed and rinsed
2-3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 red wine vinegar wine vinegar
salt and pepper
2 Tbsp. grape vine shoots (or use chiffonade of jarred grape leaves)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Oil/lemon Dressing for fish
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 Tbsp. thinly sliced scallions
1 Tbsp. finely chopped parsley
1 tsp. dried thyme or oregano
salt and pepper to taste
- To make the oil/lemon dressing (what us Greeks call “ladolemono”), add all the ingredients in a medium jar, seal and shake. Adjust seasoning and reserve. In the meantime, rinse and pat-dry your fish and drizzle both sides with olive oil (rub some in the cavity as well) and season with salt and pepper and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Place a medium-sized pot of water on your stove and bring to a boil then season with salt and add the beans. Cook for about 5 minutes then strain and place in an ice bath or under running cold water, strain.
- In a skillet, add your olive oil over medium heat then add the onions and sweat for 5-6 minutes. Continue to cook until they just begin to change colour. Now add the wine vinegar and stir and simmer until almost no liquid is left and the vinegar is no longer sour (will sweeten) and reserve.
- Take your fish out of the fridge and pre-heat your gas your charcoal grill. Brush the grill surface ensuring no residue is left to stick to the fish skin. Once your grill is hot, wipe the grill surface with some paper towel that’s been doused in vegetable oil and place your fish on the grill. Grill on each side for about 6-7 minutes and transfer to a platter.
- place the skillet with the wine vinegar and red onions back on your stove and over medium heat add the garlic, beans and gently toss while warming them up. Add the grape vine shoots, toss in and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Add the chopped fresh parsley and empty onto your large serving platter.
- Place the grilled fish on top of the beans and re-shake the jar with the oil/lemon dressing and spoon over the fish. Serve with a rice pilaf and a chilled Kir Yanni 100% Xinomavro Rose.
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