I’ve reached a stage in life where I’ve realised becoming a phenomenal cook simply isn’t within reach. I can follow a recipe and generally end up with something fairly tasty but the creativity of developing new recipes or new ways to cook food is very definitely lacking from my repertoire. Thankfully there are plenty of inventive and talented chefs doing amazing things with food and last week I was delighted to spend a few hours in the company of one, Michelin-starred Daniel Galmiche.
Our venue for the afternoon was the Good Housekeeping Institute’s bespoke kitchen and dining room, tucked down a little alleyway in Soho (for the rest of my days, I’m sure I’ll forever be discovering new things in London even after being a resident all these years). As the rain clouds gathered overhead, a group of us were cosily tucked away, sipping Elderflower or G&T and preparing to learn all about Norwegian Fjord Trout, the only trout to live in the saltwater fjords of Norway.
I must confess prior to the event I knew very little about trout. We eat a lot of salmon but for some reason trout just hasn’t been our fish of choice – I think as a child it somehow felt pretentious and out-of-reach, reserved for the gentry. Such ridiculous notions that go through my head. Like not eating mince pies because I thought they were made of mince or cheese cake because it was made of cheddar cheese. Anyway, back to fish.
As with most Scandinavian countries, Norway evokes images of nature, outdoor living and sustainability. The unique environment of 23,000 kilometres of coastline combined with glacier streams and fjords make this the ideal conditions to breed and farm trout. According to the Norwegian Seafood Council:
The Fjord Trout is a demanding fish. It requires the best water quality – clear and cool, rich in oxygen, and with the right flow rate. In Norway’s fjords it finds the perfect combination of sweet meltwater and salty seawater. Norwegian Fjord Trout are fed a balanced, sustainable diet to help them grow slowly, producing excellent quality fish.
Ambassador Daniel showed us how the fish stores most fat on the belly, therefore producing lean fillets and delicate texture making it ideal for raw dishes such as sashimi. However it’s incredibly versatile and can be used in any manner of cooking from smoking and grilling to being fried or steamed. He filleted the fish, revealing it’s stunning red colour before pan-frying with some oil, parsley and flaked almonds for us to try. Oh my goodness it was just beautiful – so light and delicate whilst also having richness to the flavour. It opened my eyes that sometimes it can be the simplest cooking techniques and flavours which produce the best results. Because when the fish is so fresh and tasty it would definitely be a shame to disguise it with other stronger flavours. Plus, I learned a great cooking technique to use some grease proof paper in the pan to prevent the fish sticking which means you need to use less oil and protect your pans at the same time.
The best news is that whilst Fjord Trout may have been the chefs trout of choice for some time, it will also be available in Tesco stores from October onwards at an affordable price meaning you can pick some up ready to cook from the fish counter and sample for yourself. If you’re looking for inspiration, here is a recipe from the Norwegian Seafood Council and Daniel to get you started.
Pan-friend Norwegian Fjord Trout with Lime & Dill Mayonnaise and Crushed Potatoes – serves 4
Ingredients – for the fish
4 x 140g Norwegian Fjord Trout fillets
2 tbsp olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Ingredients for the Crushed Potatoes with Lime & Dill
300g new potatoes
1 small handful of dill, chopped
Ingredients for the Lime & Dill Mayonnaise
1 small handful of dill, chopped
Zest of 1 lime
Juice of half a lime
Bring a larage saucepan of salted water to the boil and cook potatoes for 8-10 minutes until just firm. Drain, refresh under cold water, peel and return to the pan. Keep in a warm place or side of the stove and cover to retain the heat. When ready to serve, crush the potatoes with a fork, drizzle over olive oil and stir through lime juice, zest and dill.
Combine all ingredients for the mayonnaise and season
Season the Fjord Trout on both sides and heat the olive oil and butter in a frying pan over medium heat
When the butter is starting to foam, add the Fjord Trout and cook for 3 minutes on both sides until lightly golden
Plate the Fjord Trout fillets, top with mayonnaise and sprinkle with some grated lime zest. Serve with the lovely crushed potatoes on the side
Thank you so much to the Norwegian Seafood Council for inviting me to attend this event. All words, opinions and images my own unless otherwise stated.