This is a brilliantly versatile recipe that you could easily do with fresh salmon, cod or mackerel cutlets. The watercress tartare is crunchy, herby and creamy. A taste sensation.
For the watercress tartare sauce
- 300ml (½ pint) bought mayonnaise
- 55g (2 oz) watercress leaves, blanched, squeezed dry and very finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh tarragon
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon chopped capers
- 2 tablespoons chopped gherkins
For the trout crust
- 1 tablespoon mixed red, green and white dry peppercorns
- 4 x 110g(4 oz) par-smoked trout fillets, with skin
- 125g (4½ oz) granary breadcrumbs
- 75g (3 oz) shelled walnuts, chopped
- 8 tablespoons mixed chopped fresh herbs (parsley, dill, coriander, chives)
- finely grated zest of 1 orange
- freshly ground nutmeg
- 125g (4 oz) butter, melted
- 1 egg yolk, beaten
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- extra watercress and lemon wedges, to serve
- Preheat the oven to Fan 180°C / 200°C / 400°F / Gas Mark 6.
- First make the tartare sauce by beating the watercress into the mayonnaise then folding in all the remaining ingredients. Taste, season and chill until needed.
- Pound the peppercorns in a pestle and mortar. Rub this mixture all over the flesh side of the cutlets. Then lay them skin-side down in a baking dish.
- Mix the breadcrumbs with the walnuts, herbs, orange zest, and lots of nutmeg.
- Melt the butter in the frying pan, and when foaming, stir in the breadcrumb mixture. Cook over a high heat until the butter is absorbed and the breadcrumbs are just beginning to toast and brown. Season well.
- Brush the peppered cutlets with egg yolk and press on the walnut and breadcrumb mixture.
- Bake for 15 - 20 minutes until the fish is opaque and the crumbs crisp. Serve with the watercress tartare sauce and lemon wedges.