I hope you all had a good New Year’s holiday. While I am definitely all for self-reflection, self-improvement and personal goals, I also think it’s important to embrace the here and now, however imperfect that may be. I like to think of it as optimism with a healthy dose of reality. So while I eschew joining the gym in January, going alcohol free and dieting, the reality is that Christmas “treats” for a month means I am left with the option of buying a new (larger) wardrobe or dialing it back big time.
Fortunately this does not mean resorting to drinking every meal or dry, tasteless food. Here is a recipe for trout with polenta. Salmon can easily be substituted if that is more readily available. It’s also a “piatto unico” – a one dish meal (in the sense that it is all served on the same plate rather than in a series of courses as is more common in Italy). This dish is happily eaten by babies with a spoon (check for bones first). The tangy tomato sauce contrasts nicely with the creamy polenta and gives the feeling of a cosy, filling winter meal (but without the typical calories or fat).
Trota in umido con polenta (trout with tomato sauce and polenta) – Friuli Venezia-Giulia
1 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
50 mls extra-virgin olive oil
30 grams flour
15 grams flat-leaf parsley, rinsed, dried, leaves removed and finely chopped
350 grams polenta
If you are using traditional polenta (if the cooking time on the package is more than 8 minutes), then start cooking this first. If you have the quick cook type then you can cook the polenta after the tomato sauce and just before you start to cook the fish.
In a saute pan, add the tomatoes, garlic, 30 mls of the olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer and cook covered over low heat for 30 minutes.
To cook the polenta, bring to a boil 1.5 litres of water, 20 mls of olive oil and 10 grams of sea salt. Drizzle in the polenta while continually stirring and cook for the amount of time indicated on the packaging. Keep stirring.
Meanwhile dust the trout with salt and flour on both sides. Add the fish with the non skin-covered side down in the tomato sauce. Cover and cook for another 6 minutes. Carefully turn the fish over using a perforated fish spatula. Add the parsley and cover again for 2 minutes.
Pour the polenta into the serving plates and top with the fish and tomato sauce.