This is one of my favourite dishes to prepare when guests come over for a feed. So I loved sharing it with The Big Fish show on ABC radio statewide. It is a no fuss dish with the looks and the flavour. The bunches of herbs not only imparts flavour into the fish but helps to stop the fish from sticking to the pan. The best way to know if your fish is cooked is the eyes become opaque, a milky creamy colour or as Scott Levi from Big Fish says, they look like white marbles. Remember the time of cooking will vary with the size of your fish.
You can use any other whole fish like snapper, whiting or barramundi instead of trout. Enjoy!
Roasted rainbow trout and pancetta with preserved lemon and fennel stuffing
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 leek, white part only, finely chopped
1 small fennel bulb, finely chopped, fronds reserved
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
3 teaspoons fennel seeds
1 preserved lemon, rinsed, flesh removed and skin finely chopped
juice of 2 lemons
1 cup Panko (Japanese) breadcrumbs
4 rainbow trout (about 300gm each), cleaned
8 thin slices pancetta
1 bunch each rosemary, thyme, oregano (or whatever you have in your garden)
2 lemons, sliced
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup dry white wine
Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over a medium heat and add the onion, leek, fennel and garlic and stir occasionally until softened. Add the fennel seeds and cook until they are fragrant. Remove from heat, add preserved lemon and breadcrumbs, season to taste and combine well. Cool completely, stir through reserved fennel fronds, set aside.
Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius. Stuff the breadcrumb mixture into the cavities of rainbow trout. Wrap each trout with two pancetta slices and season with salt and pepper.
Scatter half the herbs into the base of a roasting pan, large enough to fit the trout in a single layer, layer with the slices of lemons and arrange the trout on top. Top with the other bunches of herbs. Combine extra-virgin olive oil, wine and lemon juice in a bowl, drizzle over trout and roast until fish is just cooked and pancetta is crisp (20 – 30 minutes).
Remove the herbs and transfer the fish to a platter, strain pan juices and drizzle over fish. Serve with roasted potatoes and a green salad.