Traditional country pursuits reimagined for a modern world
Award-winning author, food writer and chef Gill Meller shares this wonderfully refreshing trout dish, perfect for the spring and summer months.
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This quick, warm salad of nutty spelt grain and clean river trout always lifts my mood. With a light air of spring about it, it provides a welcome break from the richer dishes I often prepare over the colder months of the year. It’s an excellent way to use up leftover trout, or any fish for that matter. Be generous with the herbs, lemon and olive oil, which elevate the salad and turn it into something quite magical...
200g cooked trout, cooled, skin and bones removed
150g pearled spelt
½ firm cucumber, peeled
½ small red onion, finely diced
2 tbsp cider vinegar
2 tsp golden caster sugar
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 small bunch of mint, leaves picked, stems reserved
1 small bunch of coriander
Juice of ½ lemon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Split the half cucumber in half along its length. Scoop out the seeds with the tip of a teaspoon, then slice the cucumber into 1cm half moons and place in a bowl. Add the onion, vinegar and sugar, and plenty of salt and pepper. Use a spoon to tumble the cucumber through all these ingredients and set aside to marinate.
2. Place the pearled spelt in a sieve and rinse well. Transfer to a pan and cover with cold water. Place the pan over a high heat and bring the liquid up to a simmer. Add the mint stems to the spelt pan so that they flavour the grain as it cooks, and cook for 15–20 minutes, until the spelt is tender but retains some bite. Drain the spelt in a colander and allow it to stand for 10–15 minutes.
3. In a large bowl, combine the spelt with the cucumber slices and all the vinegary, sugary cucumber dressing. Add the olive oil, season well with salt and pepper, and stir to combine.
4. Flake the trout into large pieces and gently turn it through the warm grains. Chop all but a few of the mint leaves, and all but a few tender sprigs of the coriander. Add the chopped herbs to the salad, then spoon the salad onto a serving platter or into a bowl and drizzle over the lemon juice. Scatter over the whole herbs, then bring to the table straight away.
This recipe is from Gather: Everyday seasonal recipes from a year in our landscapes by Gill Meller and is published by Quadrille for £25.
Photography / ANDREW MONTGOMERY
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