Make-your-own pesto served with trout & salad

As one of my regulars, I’m now managing to get this served up in well under the half hour mark. You can chop and change what you like. Pesto is a simple, yet tasty dish on its own, or you could serve the trout with some baby potatoes and the salad, or the salad only, again, all easily put together in a very short time. Trout is a great fish because it’s inexpensive, incredibly easy to cook, healthy, and darn right delicious! Get the food processor at the ready…

Pesto and trout with watercress & rocket salad (serves 4)

(Make-your-own Pesto)
400g dried pasta
100g pinenuts
half a clove of garlic
75g parmesan, grated
large bunch of basil
extra virgin olive oil
pinch of salt & pepper

Four trout fillets, de-boned & skin on

Bag of rocket
Bag of watercress
Feta cheese, diced
Sun dried or semi-sun dried tomatoes
Dollop of natural yogurt
Extra virgin olive oil
Balsamic vinegar

Boil a kettle of water to cook the pasta with. Open the bags of rocket and watercress into a salad bowl. In an empty jam jar, shake up around 100ml of olive oil with a dollop of yogurt and a splash of balsamic vinegar. Set aside.

Bring a pan of water to boil and add plenty of salt followed by the pasta, remembering to keep an eye on it so as not to overcook. In a food processor, blend the pinenuts, parmesan, garlic, basil and drizzle in the olive oil (around 100ml) until you get the right consistency. Season to taste.

Heat some oil in a frying pan to medium-high. Season the trout fillets. The pasta should be done by now. Drain and set aside. On the flesh side, fry the trout for about 20-30 seconds and then cook on the skin side. This will only take a few short minutes to crisp up. Use the lid of a saucepan to cover and stop it spitting out oil.

Before serving, add the pesto to the warm, drained pasta, then shake up and add the salad dressing mixture to the salad, without completely drenching it. Season and throw in some diced feta and sun dried tomatoes and bring to the table with the fish and the pasta.

The wine match

This is Sauvignon Blanc territory for me. The herbaceous pasta, the salad, the fish, all crying out for a crisp, aromatic white. The two key regions that come to mind for me are Marlborough and Loire Valley.

The Fairhall Cliffs and The Ned Sauvignon Blanc, both from Brent Marris, will absolutely sing with this food. As will La Clochette Sancerre, France’s answer to New Zealand SB. All possess racy acidity with a nettley twist. Other great alternatives include Cuvee Jean Paul Sec and Cuvee Laborie Blanc, which are both made from Ugni Blanc and Colombard, but are similar to Sauvignon for their zingy aromatics and crisp acidity.

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