My friend Jennifer was ordering fish from Lake Diefenbaker so I put in an order, too. I didn't know you could buy fish there -- and it was beautiful. It was steelhead rainbow trout weighing about 5 pounds with beautiful pink flesh. The fish arrived in a big styrofoam box -- whole, cleaned and so fresh they hadn't yet been frozen. I cooked one for dinner and out the rest in the freezer.
Every day, I am trying to eat something I picked with my own hand and I managed quite well today. The applesauce muffins we ate for breakfast were made with apples I picked and processed last fall. For lunch, it was a herb fritatta. And for supper, the a baked steelhead trout baked on a bed of carrots and celery, with wild rice and a tarragon sauce. Of course, I picked the tarragon in my garden.
(The recipe for the fritatta posted is at 4 May 2005).
TROUT BAKED ON A BED OF CARROTS AND CELERY
Start by chopping equal amounts of carrots, celery and onion in a small dice. You need enough to form a thick "mattress" in the base of your roasting pan. The vegetables cook down considerably, so put in twice as much as you think you’ll need for dinner. Dot with several tablespoons of butter. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and fresh thyme.
Put the whole fish on the bed of the vegetables. Tuck the cavity full of lemon slices. Kiss with salt and pepper, and pull up the lid. Whisper "I Love You" as you slip the roaster into the warm oven (300 degrees). Set the alarm clock for about one hour (nap time may vary depending on the size of the fish).
In the meantime, melt 1 tbsp. of butter in a saucepan. Stir in 1tbsp. of flour. Flour should completely absorb the butter. If not, add more flour. When the butter and flour are completely incorporated, add 1 cup of milk. Stir vigorously to dissolve the flour and butter in the milk. Drop a sprig of fresh tarragon into the milk. Cook, stirring frequently, until the sauce thickens to a consistency that appeals to you. If it gets too thick, add a bit more milk. Remove tarragon. Add salt and white pepper to your taste.
Rouse the fish. Place it whole on a large platter. Scoop the vegetables into a bowl. Serve with the tarragon sauce.