Smoked Trout with Mango
We were all set to four-wheel it to Sunset Park for some hard-to-reach Vietnamese food when the least-ranking member of the family preempted my plans to have someone else do the cooking by passing out at the tender hour of six p.m.
Fortunately, I had a smoked trout in the vegetable bin, and he was much easier to face after half a bottle of India Pale Ale than he would have been with a pre-breakfast coffee deficit.
I adapted this recipe from Hot Sour Salty Sweet, a gorgeous, kickboard sized Southeast Asian cookbook that's chock full of luscious travel photos and came within inches of moving my already-dying cat's end up a few days when it came slamming down off the ktichen windowsill. You're supposed to use green mangoes, but that's a detail I always forget when I'm over at Met Food, getting fresh with what passes for produce over there. I think the ripe mango color enhances this dish's sex appeal. Plus the ripe ones match my blog (which matches my living room walls).
Smoked Trout with Mango
Get yourself a small, smoked trout, skin him, remove the bones and bury the head at the bottom of the garbage pale so he can't give you the fish eye when you dispose of the cilantro stems. Cut into bite size morsels.
Wash enough cilantro to yield a half cup of chopped leaves. I'm usually all for simplifying matters by chopping 'em up, stems and all, but Met's cilantro has gotten rather muscular of late. Better to help it to give a subtle performance here by trimming all but the daintiest textures.
Skin and chop your mango. Oh, this reminds me of a short play I wrote that required one of the cast members to eat a mango very sensuously and the first time we were rehearsing it, he got really quiet and said, "Miss Ayunee, why come my mango got a bone?" You can take the boy out of Wisconsin...
Ask your trout, mango and cilantroto make themselves comfortable in a large shallow bowl, while you prepare their
2 tablespoons of rice vinegar
1 tablespoon of fish sauce
1 tablespoon of vinegar
1 teaspoon of minced garlic
1 teaspoon of minced shallots
1 teaspoon of minced ginger
pinch of lemon zest (thank god every Fish Tales customer is entitled to 2 complimentary lemons per purchase.)
That's it. Just mix it up. But hold your fire until you're ready to serve.
The other thing about that cookbook? After systematically destroying the Wellfleet Library's only copy several summers ago, I went on to destroy the copy I requested when my mother asked me what I wanted for Christmas. It's my way. If you check a cookbook out of the Brooklyn Heights branch library and it looks like someone's been using it as a dish towel, I guarantee I'm the culprit. Or actually my 8-year-old daughter is. I haven't checked anything out on my own card since I racked up $60 in overdue fees on that stupid panda video the kids didn't even like.