Trout and Ethnic Cleansing

Yellowstone cutthroat trout. Plate from “Birds and Nature,” 1904.

What happened to trout? Of all the farm-reared fish they’re the most tasteless. Order one in a restaurant these days and you get something tasting like blotting paper. It was different once.

Listen to the French writer, Jean Giono in “La France a Table”:

Never with butter, never with almonds; that is not cooking, it is packaging. (It is, of course, understood that my recipes are not for all comers.) With the exception of truite en bleu nobody knows how to cook a trout. It is the most unfortunate fish on earth. If an atomic bomb destroyed the world tomorrow, the human race would vanish without ever having known the taste of a trout. Of course, I am no more talking of tank-bred trout than I would give a recipe for cooking a dog or a cat.

So, a fine fat, or several fine fat, trout from the river, fresh (that goes without saying), gutted, scaled, etc… A frying-pan previously rinsed out with flaming wine vinegar. Make this empty pan very hot. Into this very hot pan, a mixture of water and virgin olive oil (a claret glass of olive oil to 3 of water). Let it boil fast. Add a bouquet of thyme and nothing else whatsover except 2 crushed juniper berries and some pepper.

Reduce the mixture, and when there is nothing but a centimetre of fast boiling liquid left in the pan, put your fine fat, or several fine fat, trout gently into the liquid. Do not turn the fish over. Cover the pan and boil 1 minute, then…

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