Rainbow Trout with Brown Butter and Salt-Roasted Beets

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Yield: 4

Cook Time: 40 MIN

Total Time: 1 HR 30 MIN

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While most recipes simply call for boiling or roasting beets, the salt-roasting method here is chef Ashley Christensen’s favorite. It requires a lot of salt-enough to fully bury the beets-but the end results are juicy, perfectly seasoned and popping with flavor. If you don’t have enough salt on-hand, this dish will still be delicious with standard roasted beets.

Ingredients

8 small beets with their greens (about 3 pounds)

3 pounds kosher salt (about 8 cups)

2 tablespoons fresh orange juice

1/4 teaspoon finely grated orange zest

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Sea salt

Freshly ground pepper

Four 6-ounce rainbow trout fillets, pin bones removed and skin scored on the diagonal at 1-inch intervals

1/4 cup canola oil

4 thyme sprigs

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

4 tablespoons crème fraîche

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 375º. Cut off the beet greens. Discard the stems and tear the leaves. In a baking dish, arrange the beets in a single layer and cover with the kosher salt. Roast for 1 hour, until tender; let cool slightly, then peel and quarter.

In a bowl, toss the beets with the orange juice, zest and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Season with sea salt and pepper.

Season the trout with salt and pepper. In a cast-iron skillet, working in 2 batches, heat 2 tablespoons of the canola oil until it shimmers. Cook half of the fillets skin side down over moderately high heat until golden, 3 minutes. Add half of the thyme and cook until the skin is crispy. Add half of the butter and turn the fillets; cook over moderate heat, basting, until just cooked through, 2 minutes longer; transfer to a plate. Discard the thyme.

Wipe out the skillet. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the beet greens and cook, tossing, until just wilted, 2 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice and season with sea salt and pepper.

Serve the trout with the roasted beets and greens, spooning a tablespoon of crème fraîche on each plate.

Notes

Make Ahead The whole roasted beets can be refrigerated for up to 2 days; rewarm and peel before proceeding.

Serve with a round, fragrant Chenin Blanc: 2012 Champalou Vouvray.

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