Updated: Aug 26, 2021
In the latest season of Curb Your Enthusiasm, Larry David opens a coffee shop after being banned from his usual haunt. Confident that he could provide a better café experience for his target demographic (himself), the new venture becomes known as a "spite store," owing to its motivation and location: literally next door to the offending coffee shop.
This recipe (recipe link) is derived from a similar inspiration. Sam and I had a really nice piece of trout at a local restaurant. It had all the hallmarks of this recipe - crispy skin, tender flesh, and dripping with butter - but all they serve is the filet of fish. No starch, no bread, nothing to mop up all that remaining liquid gold. So, rather than sheepishly ask the waitstaff for a crust of bread, our first spite recipe was born.
This is a very quick and simple recipe, perfect for a weeknight, and is a good confidence-builder for home cooks that may be intimidated by fish. I use a pan sear and saute method loosely based on Eric Ripert's instructional video here. Serve with any side you choose, pictured is some colcannon (Irish mashed potatoes) Sam made, but the payoff lies in the piece of toast soaked in butter and pan drippings.
fresh trout, fileted
2 slices of good bread for toasting (Sam’s homemade sourdough, preferably)
1 tablespoons (heaping) coconut oil
3 tablespoons butter
½ tsp Chinese five spice seasoning
juice of ½ a lemon
1 ---Toast two (2) pieces of bread and set aside. Clean the trout filets under cold water and pat dry with a paper towel, place on a plate with the skin-side facing up. Season the skin with Chinese Five Spice seasoning and salt.
2 ---Place a non-stick sauté pan over medium high heat. As the pan is heating, add a heaping tablespoon of coconut oil and heat until fragrant. Gently lay the trout filets skin side down in the pan. Sprinkle a little salt on the flesh side of the fish, and cook for about 5-7 minutes until the skin is crispy (you should see the edges of the filets turn white).
3 ---Add the butter to the pan. Lower the heat to medium, and gently flip the filets so the skin side is facing up. Pour in the lemon juice. Gently agitate the pan to ensure the butter is evenly melted and distributed. Cook the filets in the butter, flesh side down, for about 5-7 minutes.
4 ---Place the trout atop the toast. Spoon some of the remaining butter from the pan on the fish and toast. Garnish with chopped parsley.