Chef Lentz plays off the mild flavor of trout with aromatic herbs and bitter greens that are bold but never overpower the fish. For cooking whole fish on the grill, the 10-minute-per-inch rule is a good guideline. Whole fish are actually a little easier to judge doneness than fillets, because they are already slit through to the center. Just peek inside the cavity and use the point of a knife to test the meat right next to the backbone. It should separate easily, and be just barely opaque. When the fish is done, let it rest 5 minutes before serving. Get more tips on how to cook trout.
Fennel-Stuffed Rainbow Trout with Brown Butter and Dandelion Green
- 7 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil; more for brushing
- 1 medium (about 10 oz.) fennel bulb, trimmed, cored, and thinly sliced lengthwise, preferably on a mandoline
- 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and thinly sliced, preferably on a mandoline
- 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 tsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 2 tsp. whole-grain mustard
- 2 tsp. lemon zest
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 10- to 11-oz. whole rainbow trout, scaled, gutted, and boned, heads and tails intact
- 1 large lemon, cut into 12 thin slices
- Cooking spray
- 6 oz. (about 1 bunch) scallions, trimmed
- 2 leeks, trimmed, halved lengthwise, and cleaned
- 4 oz. dandelion greens
- 4 oz. (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup toasted almonds, coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from 1 large)
- Heat a gas or charcoal grill to medium high (400°F to 475°F).
- Heat 3 Tbs. of the olive oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the fennel and onion and cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and mix in 1/2 tsp. of the red pepper flakes and the rosemary. Let cool to room temperature. Stir in the parsley, mustard, and 1 tsp. of lemon zest. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Rinse the fish and pat dry with paper towels. Season the cavities with salt and pepper. Stuff each cavity with 3 slices of lemon and 1/3 cup of the fennel-onion mixture.
- Spray both sides of an open 11×16-inch fish grill basket with cooking spray. Carefully transfer the stuffed trout to the grill basket, placing them side by side facing in the same direction. Close and lock the grill basket. Generously brush both sides of the exterior of the fish with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. (Alternatively, if you don’t have a fish grill basket, you can secure the stuffed bodies of the trout with butcher’s twine. Be sure your grill and the fish are well oiled before cooking.)
- Lightly oil the grill. Put the fish basket on the grill and cook, undisturbed, until light grill marks appear, about 4 minutes. Carefully flip the fish basket and continue to grill until the fish are just cooked through, about 4 minutes more. Remove the fish from the grill and tent with foil for 10 minutes.
- Toss the scallions and leeks with 2 Tbs. of the olive oil, and toss the dandelion greens separately with the remaining 2 Tbs. of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
- Grill the scallions and leeks and the dandelion greens in separate groups on the grill. Cook, turning occasionally, until the scallions and leeks are tender and charred, about 3 minutes, and the dandelion greens begin to wilt, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate, tent with foil, and set aside.
- In an 8-inch skillet, cook the butter over medium heat, swirling it every few seconds, until melted and the milk solids at the bottom of the pan turn golden brown and smell nutty, about 5 minutes.
- Carefully unlock and remove the fish from the grill basket. Transfer the fish to a large serving platter. Spoon half of the brown butter over the fish. Scatter the scallions, leeks, and dandelion greens evenly over the fish, sprinkle with the almonds, and drizzle the remaining brown butter.
- Season the fish evenly with the lemon juice, the remaining 1 tsp. zest, salt, and pepper.