Grilled Whole Trout with Mango & Fennel Salad

April 24, 2012 § 3 Comments


For my family, the surest sign of Spring is mangoes.  Heaps of perfectly ripe mangoes, delivered with love by my mother-in-law each week.  So many mangoes. My children love them, which is why their Lola (grandma) brings mangoes by the dozen.  But, like all precious things that suddenly arrive in immense quantities,  mangoes become a bit less desirable as time passes.  Consumption slows and  I am faced with a fridge full of fruit that is on the brink. It’s the saddest thing in the world to toss them out, and this year I won’t let it happen.  Each time I cook I will ask myself: where do mangoes fit into this meal?  Can I add cubed mango? Pureed mango? Dried mango? Because we have 17 of them, and they’re not getting any younger.  Last night I came up with a delicious idea, a meal where mango was perfectly at home, I think.  My daughter felt otherwise and asked for  salad without mango.  I didn’t serve her mango at dinner, but she had to eat three for breakfast.  We all need to contribute in this household, young lady.

Yesterday was summer in Seattle.  It will be back, I know, but there’s no telling when.  So we seized the moment (and a mango) and got all tropical. Whole trout, stuffed with lemon & cilantro grilled on the Weber.  A salad of sweet fennel and sweeter mangoes with a squeeze of lemon and this festive rice that is an astonishing yellow hue.  A happy plate on a happy day.  And for dessert… mangoes.

Grilled Whole Trout with Mango & Fennel Salad

Serves 4

For the salad:

1 large bulb fennel

2 ripe mangoes

1/4 C cilantro, chopped

2 Tbsp mint, chopped

1/4 of a red onion, very thinly sliced

Juice from 1/2 of a lemon


For the trout:

4 Trout, 3/4 lb each

olive oil

1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

1 small bunch of cilantro

1 lemon, thinly sliced

salt & pepper

For the Salad:

1. Prepare the fennel by cutting off the stalks, then peeling away the tough outside layer of the bulb with a vegetable peeler.  Then cut the bulb in half lengthwise and cut out the core. Finally, lay the bulb halves flat side down and slice them as thinly as possible. Place the sliced fennel in a small bowl.

2.  To prepare the mango, stand the mango on end and slice away one side, 1/2 inch off center.  Repeat on the other side.  You’ll be left with 2 meaty pieces of mango and a 1 inch slice that is the core.  Discard the core. Cut diagonal slices in the  flesh of the mango halves 1/2 in apart in each direction, creating a grid pattern.  Scoop the cubed mango into the bowl with the fennel.

3. Add the chopped herbs and thinly sliced red onion to the fennel & mango. Add the lemon juice, salt to taste & toss.  Let the salad sit while you prepare the fish, to allow the flavors to meld.

For the Trout:

1. Preheat the grill.  You’ll need to cook the fish over high heat on a well-oiled grate to prevent sticking.

2. Wash and pat dry each fish, then rub them with olive oil inside and out.

3.  Fill the cavity of the trout with the sliced lemons, onion & sprigs of cilantro.  Salt and pepper each fish inside and out.

4.  Grill the fish covered, over high heat for 3 minutes then carefully turn the fish and finish the other side, an additional 3 minutes, covered.

5.  Serve the fish on a large platter, with the Mango & Fennel Salad mounded around it.


Serving tip:  Serving whole fish with finesse can be a bear.  Here’s my favored technique… Place a knife or fork along the fish’s backbone, near the head. Scoot your utensil down the fish’s spine, like you’re opening a letter.  Now you have filleted the fish.  Carefully lift the filet onto a lucky diner’s plate.  Now pick up the fish by the head and voila, the entire spine will go with it.  Behold the lovely second filet, awaiting lucky diner #2. C’est tout.


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