Yes, smoked trout again.
Smoked trout is brilliant, and I say unapologetically that I have gobbled up enough smoked trout to depopulate a small lake over the last two months, which probably means it’s time to graduate from simply putting it on top of salads to, you know, actually cooking with it.
Enter trout pilaf, which is a persian rice dish which I tweaked and altered to a degree of unrecognisability that I can’t even call it pilaf anymore without making scores of persian mums clicking their tongues in bewildered disapproval.
Roughly based on mujaddara, this recipe is easy and fuss-free and leftovers make a perfect happy desk lunch. For two servings:
Slice two onions into rings, fry them on medium heat in a little oil. Slowly, slowly, don’t rush it. Don’t stir too often, either. Just leave them to do their thing – turning nice and brown, that is. Add a cinnamon stick, a squashed-then-sliced garlic clove, 10 cardamom pods, 10 cloves and some (smoked) salt.
Add a cup of quinoa if you’re a good girl or a cup of white rice if you’re feeling naughty (gasp!), stir well and wait a minute before adding two cups of water (add some rose water as well if you have any on hand, I think it would make a nice addition). Turn the heat down, half-covering the pot or pan and wait until all the water has been soaked up and your grain of choice is done (add more water if needed). In case you were wondering, quinoa is done when the little tails uncurl (yep, “little tails” is a technical term). If using rice, I trust you to judge its done-ness by yourself
On a side note: when I turned eighteen, my best friend gave me a little snow globe thingy with a handwritten recipe “how to cook rice” inside. My cooking was so bad (read: nonexistent) that I actually had to consult the snow globe a lot of times before I could produce cooked rice that wasn’t either rock-hard, burnt, or soggy…
Sorry. Where were we? Ah yes. When your grain of choice is done, add toasted pine nuts or almonds, a big handful chopped parsley and – you thought I had forgotten about it, didn’t you? – smoked trout! Pull it roughly apart with a fork and mix carefully into the rice. Go for good quality organic fish, it really makes a difference – tastewise, but even more importantly for the fish. After all, you want your little trouty to have been a happy trouty, don’t you? So throw in the extra cash to make his life better (retrospectively).
Picture coming up soon.