Recipe: How to Make Pastrami Trout

pastrami trout
Coat and cook your spring limit with a delicious seed-and-spice crustRoscoe Betsill

There are some Eastern European influences tucked into this dish, with hints of pastrami seasoning in the ­shatter-​crispy seed crust and with pickled beets adding some sour elegance. But mostly, there’s just a serious heap of flavor. Try this when you have some meaty rainbow trout or steelhead fillets on hand, or a nice slab of wild salmon. To round this recipe into a meal, mash cooked carrots with lots of butter and a dribble of cream or milk and serve alongside.

Ingredients

  • 4 trout fillets, skin on
  • 2 medium beets
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1⁄2 cup white wine
  • 1⁄4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 4 tsp. dark brown sugar
  • 1⁄4 tsp. dried thyme
  • 3 Tbsp. flax or chia seeds
  • 2 Tbsp. sesame seeds
  • 1 Tbsp. coriander seeds
  • 1 Tbsp. mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp. fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1⁄2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1⁄4 cup flour
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill

Directions

1. Make the beets: Peel the beets, then grate them on the coarse side of a box grater. Transfer the grated beets to a small saucepan and add the shallot, white wine, vinegar, brown sugar, and thyme. Bring to a boil over ­medium-​high heat, then lower to a quick simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the beets are soft, about 10–12 minutes. Remove from the heat, season with salt and pepper, and allow to cool.

2. Make the seed crust: Combine the flax or chia, sesame, coriander, mustard, and fennel seeds in a zip-seal bag along with the paprika, garlic powder, and salt and pepper to taste. Press on the bag to release the air and seal. Use a rolling pin or mallet to roughly crack the seeds—you’re looking for a varied mixture of whole, cracked, and crushed seeds. Empty the mixture onto a plate and use a fork to make sure it is evenly distributed.

3. Spread the flour onto a plate. Season it with salt and pepper, and crack the egg into a bowl. One at a time, dredge the fillets in the flour, then dip into the egg. Lightly press the fillets into the seed mixture, on both sides, so that the mixture adheres and the fillets are evenly coated.

4. In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. **Add the fillets, in batches if necessary, and cook for about 2–3 minutes per side, depending on thickness, or until you can flake the fish with a knife.

5. Divide the beets between four plates and top with the fillets.** Sprinkle the dill on top and serve. Serves 4.

Drink Recipe: The Clear Winner

The Eastern European flavors of this dish call for an Eastern European tipple: ice-cold vodka, served neat. But also consider aquavit. This once esoteric Scandinavian spirit—​reminiscent of gin, but with a top note of caraway rather than juniper—is experiencing a renaissance in the U.S., and makes a fine sipper to accompany this dish. —J.M.