Warmer nights call for lighter dishes. This whole roasted fish suits an April weeknight because it is easy to prepare and quick to cook. Stuffing it with fresh whole herbs from the farmer’s market gives the trout a sprightly taste of the season. When picking your fish, always look for glassy, not cloudy eyes. The skin should be wet, plump, and glistening, not dry or dehydrated. Try to buy from a proper fishmonger when possible over a grocery store for best quality.
To Pair: A tangy, crisp Vermentino from Italy is the perfect partner for roasted trout. The grape grows in three distinct regions, each with its own identity. Ligurian Vermentino is more mineral and citrusy, Tuscan Vermentino is rounder and juicier, while Sardinian Vermentino is rich and full-bodied with notes of saline spray from the sea. Whichever region you pick, the wine will deliver great value, as Italian Vermentino is underappreciated in the US.
Total time: 25 minutes
2 whole trout (rainbow, brown, brook, or sea trout are all good), 10-12 oz. each, scaled and cleaned
Sea salt and cracked black pepper, to taste
1 lemon, sliced
1-2 garlic cloves, sliced thin
8 sprigs of fresh thyme
6 sprigs of fresh rosemary
4 sprigs of fresh flat leaf parsley
2 tablespoons olive oil
Simple Bistro Salad
1 head butter, red, or green lettuce, washed and roughly chopped
½ small red onion, thinly sliced
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, good quality
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon honey mustard
1 small shallot, minced
Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat to 425°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or grease with olive oil.
2. Make 3 diagonal slashes on both sides of the fish. Sprinkle cavity of fish with sea salt and black pepper. Layer slices of lemon and garlic inside. Divide fresh herb sprigs between fish and stuff in cavity. Rub olive oil over the skin of both fish and sprinkle with salt. Place on baking sheet and roast in oven for 10-15 minutes.
3. While fish cooks, assemble bistro salad. In a medium bowl, whisk together olive oil, vinegar, mustard, and shallots. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper, to taste. Toss with lettuce and onion just before serving.
4. Remove fish from oven and transfer to plates. Divide salad between plates and serve.