Recipe: seared trout and smashed taters from seafood restaurant Starfish
By Patrick McMurray
PREP TIME: 15 minutes
COOK TIME: 1 hour 10 minutes
SEARED TROUT AND SMASHED POTATOES
3 Spanish onions
½ cup plus 1 tbsp butter
1½ lbs skin-on new red potatoes, about 12
1 tbsp olive oil, preferably light
Salt and pepper to taste
4 deboned trout fillets, each ¼ lb, preferably Jim Giggie’s rainbow trout
⅛ tsp salt and pepper
1. To caramelize onions, chop each onion in half lengthwise, then thinly slice. Melt ½ cup butter in a large frying pan set over medium-high heat. Add onions. Cook for about 1 hour 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until onions are deep brown and soft. Adjust heat as needed.
2. Meanwhile, place potatoes in a large pot. Cover with water and add salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. Simmer for 30 to 35 minutes until potatoes are tender. Drain, then allow to cool. Place some potatoes between large pieces of parchment. Using a pan bottom, smash each potato to flatten. Heat a large frying pan over medium-high. Coat with about 1 tsp oil. Add 4 smashed potatoes. Cook for about 2 to 3 minutes per side until potatoes are crispy and golden. Season with salt and pepper. Repeat with remaining potatoes and oil.
3. Preheat oven to 350º F. Season flesh sides, then skin sides of fish, with oil, salt and pepper.
4. Preheat a cast iron pan over high. Add remaining tbsp of butter. Place fish skin side down and gently press for 1 to 2 minutes to help crisp skin. Flip each fillet so they’re flesh side down. Place pan in preheated oven. Cook to your preference or for 3 to 5 minutes until a knife inserted in thickest part of flesh and held for 10 seconds comes out warm. Arrange onions over serving plates. Top with potatoes and then fish, skin side up. Serve fish fillets with steamed green vegetables and a pint of rosé from Sandbanks, a pinot grigio from Henry of Pelham or a Beau’s Lug Tread Lagered Ale.
Patrick McMurray is known primarily for his oyster-shucking prowess; his titles include Canadian and world champion and Guinness World Record holder for most mollusks shucked per minute (38). At his 12-year-old Adelaide Street restaurant Starfish, McMurray gives equal love to both regular seafood and shellfish, and he’s happy to pass on advice to home chefs. Don’t be intimidated by the delicacy of the flesh, he urges, and don’t overshadow quality ingredients with fancy or fussy techniques. This trout dish is neither time consuming nor labour intensive, but it’s so good your guests will never know.