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Poached Fillet of Trout in Butter Sauce Recipe

Traditionally trout should be poached whole, but when serving only one fillet, it is better to poach the fillets rather than trying to fillet the trout in the kitchen at the last minute.

The court bouillon should be as full flavored as possible, so be careful not to add too much liquid to the vegetables. It is also a good idea to use a large bouquet garni composed of fresh herbs. Since the trout fillets should be served with some of the vegetables from the court bouillon, cut them as carefully and as decoratively as possible. When fish or shellfish are served along with the court bouillon, the term à la nage is often used. Originally, primarily crustaceans such as lobster and crayfish were served this way, but recently the technique has been extended to include other seafood. A similar technique for poaching trout is used for Truite au bleu.

The beurre fondu (butter sauce) used for the trout is very similar to a beurre blanc except that it is based on lemon instead of the reduction of white wine and shallots, which is used for beurre blanc.

When the trout fillet has finished poaching (this happens very quickly, about 4 minutes per centimeter of thickness; 10 minutes per inch), the skin should be removed before plating. Traditionally the trout is presented whule and the skin is removed in the dining room.

The Court Bouillon:

  • 350 grams carrots
  • 350 grams onions
  • 1 large bouquet garni
  • 400 milliliters white wine
  • 10 peppercorns, in a sachet

The Beurre Fondue:

  • 200 grams butter
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • Salt
  • Cayenne pepper

The Fish and Garnish:

  • 6 trout for lunch service, 4 for dinner service, filleted, pin-bones removed, and cut in half on a bias
  • Flat-leaf parsley leaves, for decoration

Preparation For the Court Bouillon:

  1. Peel the carrots and cut decorative grooves in the sides using a canneleur.
  2. Peel the onions and slice them in rondelles.
  3. Prepare a large bouquet garni with fresh herbs.
  4. Make a quick vegetable stock by cooking the vegetable trimmings with 4½ to 5 liters water for about 15 minutes. Strain.
  5. Put the sliced vegetables and the bouquet garni in a small marmite and cover them with the stock. Bring them to a simmer and cook them for about 10 minutes before adding the wine; the acidity of the wine slows down the cooking of the vegetables. Add the wine and continue cooking them for about 20 minutes more. Add the peppercorns about 5 minutes before the cooking is completed.
  6. Season and let the vegetables cool in the court bouillon. You will have about 4 liters. If not, reduce the liquid by itself to obtain that amount.

Preparation For the Beurre Fondu:

  1. Cut the butter into cubes.
  2. Gently simmer the lemon juice and 2 tablespoons water. Add the butter to the heated liquid, adding several cubes at a time and whisking them in, until all the butter has been added. Adjust the seasoning.
  3. Keep the sauce warm in a bain-marie until needed for service.

For Service:

  1. Separate the vegetables from the chilled court bouillon and reserve them until needed.
  2. To order: Pour 250 milliliters of the bouillon into a small sautoir and add a portion of trout. Poach gently for approximately 2 minutes.
  3. Using a skimmer, quickly transfer the fillets to a cutting board and peel off the skin.
  4. Present the trout fillets on hot plates napped with some of the hot bouillon and with the vegetables arranged on top. Sprinkle on some parsley leaves and serve the beurre fondu in a sauceboat to the side.