Monday, July 15, 2013

Trout Cakes with Smoky Tomato Aioli

Trout Cakes in progress!

What on earth am I going to do with all this trout?

It's one of those recurring questions in life that will plague me until I can come up with a decent answer to conquer it. The problem is, every time my dearest goes fishing, he comes home with some (or so he hopes). I cook them all simply and at their freshest to the best of my ability at the time. It's always decent but meal is met with groans by the fisherman himself. Typically, I am unpacking from a weekend away and throw them on some foil with whatever spices I see first. Then whatever is left is a sad plop of leftovers in a container that no one really wants. It's always a tragic tale. Recently, we had six very bony cooked fillets that were screaming for a second chance. I decided that they could be a winning meal yet and began crumbling through and removing bones while I came up with this little fish cake jive.

Not unlike the classic crab cake with breadcrumbs, celery, and onion, this is a recipe that even the complainers will try. They turned out spectacular. This will be my new go-to trout recipe. Try it with trout, bass, or other mild freshwater fin fish.

Trout Cakes with Smoky Tomato Aioli

3 cooked trout, about 6 thin fillets with bones and skin picked out (or other freshwater fish, enough to equal 4 cups without bones and skin)

3 T extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup finely diced onion
2 stalks celery, diced
1 medium red bell pepper, extra small dice/brunoise cut
1/2 t sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 t Old Bay Seasoning

1 large egg
1 c fresh whole grain bread crumbs
1/4 c prepared mayo (I like the Flax and Olive Oil Veganaise, personally)
1 T Dijon mustard
1/2 c minced flat-leaf parsley

1/4 cup or so of extra-virgin olive oil

For The Aioli:
1/2 c prepared mayo (or Nayo or Veganaise, whatever you like)
2 T tomato paste
1/2 t honey
pinch of sea salt
1/4 t smoked paprika
small clove of minced garlic
squeeze of fresh lemon juice

Prepare trout by gently crumbling into a bowl, carefully picking out bones and skin as you go. Set aside.

In a saute pan, warm the oil and cook onion, celery, and red pepper over medium heat for 5 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, and Old Bay and reduce heat to low,
Cook 10 more minutes, until vegetables are soft and fragrant, but not too brown or mushy. Remove from heat and let cool. While veggies cool, whisk together aioli ingredients in a separate bowl and set aside.

When cool enough to handle veggies, add them to the mixing bowl with the trout. Add also the eggs, breadcrumbs, mayo, mustard, and parsley. Combine with clean hands until uniform. Shape into 1.5" thick X 2" wide rounds and place gently on a plate.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a frying pan, heat about half of the oil and cook half of the trout cakes over medium-high heat for about 4 minutes on each side. Transfer to a baking sheet or oven-safe serving dish. Cook the remaining cakes in the remaining oil and transfer those, too.

Bake cakes for about 15 minutes, uncovered, until they are all piping hot. Serve with aioli.

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