Cook school confidential: cooking with Fjord Trout

Cook school confidential: cooking with Fjord Trout

by Great British Chefs 22 November 2016

We teamed up with chef Daniel Galmiche to find out why he loves Fjord Trout – a fish recently made available in the UK – and how home cooks should prepare it at home.

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Great British Chefs is a team of passionate food lovers dedicated to bringing you the latest food stories, news and reviews.

Great British Chefs is a team of passionate food lovers dedicated to bringing you the latest food stories, news and reviews.

With its vibrant, colourful flesh, delicate flavour and impressive sustainability credentials, it’s no wonder the Norwegians have kept Fjord Trout under wraps for as long as they have. Fortunately for us over in the UK, it’s now starting to appear in fishmongers and local supermarkets, meaning we can get our hands on it whenever we like. But, as with any unknown ingredient, it’s important to find out the best way to cook it, which is why we teamed up with the Norwegian Seafood Council and Michelin-starred chef Daniel Galmiche to learn more about this unique product at the Bourne and Hollingsworth cook school in Clerkenwell.

‘Since I visited Norway and saw where the Fjord Trout came from first-hand, I really appreciate it as an ingredient,’ says Daniel. ‘Tonight, we’re cooking a Pan-roasted Fjord Trout with braised lentils, a great ingredient to use in winter as it really warms you up and is very versatile. We’re going to flavour it with a little bit of smoked pancetta and instead of serving it with a sauce we’re going to make a dressing from the reduced lentil bouillon. I’m also using chervil, a herb which people don’t know too much about because it’s only just starting to appear on the market.’

A delicious sounding dish, but perhaps one that seems a little simple for such a highly respected chef. However, Daniel is quick to point out that Fjord Trout is such a pure ingredient that it shouldn’t be messed about with too much. ‘Simple recipes are best when working with Fjord Trout,’ he explains. ‘While the fish can take all sorts of foods like citrus juice, herbs, vegetables, chilli and ginger, they should only be included in small doses. That’s because the fish’s natural flavour is so delicate, it can be overpowered by other ingredients. Simple doesn’t necessarily mean complicated; it can be difficult to make a dish with just a few ingredients really shine.’

Fjord Trout
Despite the flesh looking similar to salmon, Fjord Trout is actually completely different in both texture and flavour
We invited bloggers and journalists along to the event so they could taste Fjord Trout for themselves

But what about the fish itself? While the flesh may look similar to salmon and the name suggest it’s something like rainbow trout, it is completely separate from the two. ‘Fjord Trout is such a unique fish – it’s nothing like river trout which we’re more familiar with in the UK, as it lives in sea fjords and is completely different in texture, taste and shape,’ says Daniel. ‘It’s also unlike salmon, which smells completely different, due to how the fish stores fat in its body. With Fjord Trout, the fat is kept in the belly, which is why the Japanese love turning it into sashimi so much. Salmon are more streamlined and have powerful muscles in their tails, because they need to kick themselves upstream in rivers.’

While there are all sorts of different recipes that make the most of Fjord Trout, if you’re trying it for the first time, Daniel says you should allow the flavours to remain as pure as possible. ‘The best way to cook Fjord Trout at home is probably poaching it in a very light bouillon with a little bit of lemongrass, which is very refreshing,’ he says. ‘Serve it with new potatoes and perhaps a little lime mayonnaise, but make sure you don’t overcook it – the flesh should still be a little pink in the middle.

Fjord Trout
Daniel's dish of Fjord Trout with lentils, pancetta and chervil looked simple but tasted delicious
Daniel Galmiche
The Michelin-starred chef was on hand to help everyone with their cooking, offering his top tips

‘You can also pan-fry Fjord Trout on a piece of greaseproof paper, which eliminates any chance of the fish sticking,’ adds Daniel. ‘Place another sheet on top of a fillet and lightly press on it with another pan, making sure the skin is evenly crisp all over. But my favourite way to prepare it is simply curing the fish with salt, sugar, grated lime zest (not the juice, as this cooks the fish) and coriander. Cover the flesh with this mixture, wrap it in clingfilm, leave it in the fridge overnight and it’s perfect.’