My mother passed this recipe along to me. She is my constant inspiration and companion in the kitchen, even though we live far apart. Just like roasting a whole chicken, roasting a whole fish can be impressive and satisfying. I was looking for a fish dish to lighten things up, but clearly the wintery weather won out. The mushrooms are cooked in butter and tossed with prosciutto, while the lemon and fresh parsley work to keep the dish balanced.
Impressive and weeknight dinners don’t always go together. Sometimes I get in over my head, and even though this recipe is fairly straightforward it felt like a lot of effort after a full day’s work. I would like to give a shout-out to my partner, Ben, for cranking up the music and churning out chopped vegetables like a pro. Ultimately it was worth the effort for moist, flaky fish, hearty mushrooms, and rich prosciutto, but having a sous-chef made a big difference.
The whole trout that I purchased was “dressed” but not deboned. Let me warn you that if you aren’t skilled at filleting fish, you’re much better off asking the butcher to do it for you. Trout bones are tiny! If you’re unable to find whole, deboned trout, you can shorten the cooking time to roast filets instead. And on that note—the original recipe that my mom sent came from a cookbook, but the link below is from Bon Appetite. The recipes are the same, but my version doesn’t include the celery and the cooking time is lowered to 20 minutes. It was clear that the fish were done after 20 minutes because it was so tender that the head fell off when I plated the fish! It also calls for more butter than is truly necessary. If you’re thinking about skimping, go ahead and cut back. The end result will still be delicious.
I served the trout with a side of sautéed kale with garlic, shallots and capers. The hearty kale and salty capers lent a nice contrast to the richness of the fish. All in all, it was a worthwhile endeavor and we both felt satisfied. I hope you will, too!
This weekend I will be posting about meal planning and managing your holiday kitchen. Stay tuned!
Whole Baked Trout with Mushrooms via Epicurious
Bon Appetit February 1996