May 24, 2013
Recipe: Chef Edward Lee’s Fried Trout Sandwiches
By Colin Kearns
Fans of Top Chef might remember Edward Lee from Season 9 in Texas. Louisville residents might know him as the chef of his acclaimed restaurant, 610 Magnolia, or his brand new place, MilkWood. And fans of Southern (and Korean) cuisine are about to know him as the author of the fantastic new cookbook, Smoke & Pickles.
The subtitle of Lee’s book is “Recipes and Stories from a New Southern Kitchen,” and as you read through the book, you get a very good sense what he means by “new.” Recipes include: Collards and Kimchi; Soft Grits and Scallions; Chicken-Fried Pork Steak with Ramen Crust. There’s also his twist on the Mint Julep, which calls for jalapeño-infused simple syrup. And, yes, there’s some great recipes for fish and game—including this recipe for a fried trout sandwich that Lee was kind enough to share with us. Don’t let the long ingredient list intimidate you; the recipe is pretty simple. And just look at the photo. How can you not want to dig into that?
Fried Trout Sandwiches with Pear-Ginger-Cilantro Slaw & Spicy Mayo
This is my take on the famous Vietnamese banh-mi sandwich. Traditionally banh-mi is made with pork; this lighter version made with trout is fresh and crunchy. Brown and rainbow trout are the most prevalent varieties I find along the Kentucky-Tennessee waterways, where fly-fishing has a long history. You can make this dish with any trout that’s found near you. When fresh, trout has a clean, nutty flavor and the meat is meltingly tender. Serve the sandwiches with a bag of your favorite potato chips and bottles of Centennial IPA from Founder’s Brewing Company.
- 1 cup mayonnaise, preferably Duke’s
- 2 minced fresh Thai chile peppers
- 4 teaspoons fresh lime juice
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 Asian pear, cored and cut into matchsticks (about 1½ cups)
- 1 cup fresh bean sprouts
- 1 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro sprigs (leaves and tender stems)
- 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger (use a Microplane)
- 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 large egg white
- 1 cup seltzer
- Vegetable oil for frying
- Four 4-ounce trout fillets
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Four 6-inch pieces French baguette
- 1 head Bibb or Boston lettuce, leaves separated
1. To make the mayo: Whisk together all the ingredients in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
2. To make the slaw: Combine the pear, bean sprouts, cilantro, ginger, vinegar, and fish sauce in a medium bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Taste. Is it sweet and crunchy? Good. Let it rest for a bit in the refrigerator while you fry your fish.
3. To make the tempura batter: Combine the flour, cornstarch, and salt in a bowl. Whisk in the egg white and seltzer until a pancake-like batter forms. Do not overwhisk; small lumps are okay.
4. Heat ½ inch of oil to 375 degrees in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Season both sides of the trout fillets with salt and pepper. Dip 2 fillets into the tempura batter to coat evenly, letting the excess drip off, and fry in the oil, turning once or twice, until golden and cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain on a paper-towel-lined plate. The crust should be golden and flaky and the fish still moist inside. Keep the first batch warm, and repeat with the remaining trout.
5. To assemble the sandwiches: Using a serrated knife, split the baguette pieces lengthwise in half. Spread some spicy mayo on both sides of each piece of bread. Layer the lettuce on the bottoms of the bread, then top with the trout and slaw. Gently cover with the other halves of baguette and serve. Makes 4 sandwiches
Excerpted from Smoke & Pickles by Edward Lee (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2013.