Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Smoked Trout Pasta with Browned Butter, Sage, and Parmesan

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So, this is my first post from Berlin. Not only that, but it's my first post that I actually made with Samuel. Before this, I never posted when we were together because, well... I was just way too excited to be with him to do anything productive.

I'm still way too excited to be with him, but I have realized that even though his presence can be distracting, he is also a great assistant.

Holding up backdrops is only one of his many talents. He is also a great baker. This loaf of bread you see in the photos was the first loaf he ever made. Pretty impressive first attempt since it turned out absolutely perfect, as you can see in the photos.

You may notice that I brought all my old props with me to Germany. Even the humungo wooden board I photograph on. I hope you're happy because all this stuff took up most of the room in my suitcase. I don't know how I'm ever going to bring everything back with me when we return to the U.S. In addition to the bulging suitcases we brought, we already have probably a few more suitcases worth of dishes and stuff that people have given to us.

For example, this Ukrainian lady who goes to our church. The other day, as she was slipping us our Sunday dose of Russian candies during the service, she also slipped us a note that said she wanted us to come over for tea the next day.

Finding her apartment was tricky. We stood staring at the apartment doorbell.

"What's Frieda's last name?" I asked.

"No idea," Samuel said with a shrug. He began ringing the doorbell for every name that looked like it could possibly be Ukrainian. Finally the door opened.

When we talk to Frieda, I always get a little break from struggling to speak in German, because she never lets me get a word in edgewise anyway. She just goes on in half broken German and half Russian about how great vodka is for your health as she pours us a couple more early morning shots. 
Apparently she wanted us to stay so badly that she forgot how to speak German as soon as we said we had to get going. She started going on what seemed to be a very profound monologue in Russian.

"Um... Frieda..." Samuel said, "We don't speak Russian. But really, we have an appointment so we'll have to get going..."

Suddenly her German returned as she started running around her apartment, throwing all her dishes, wine glasses, and painted Ukranian wooden spoons in bags.

"These are for you," she said, rolling her "r"s like crazy as she handed us the bags, "I will bring you some more on Sunday." About twenty minutes later, we finally made it out.

Long story short, you will probably be seeing an increase of Ukrainian props and possibly recipes here.

So anyway, sorry I got sidetracked telling you about Frieda. What you're really here for is the food.
I first made this for my family in America a few weeks ago when Samuel and I got back from our honeymoon, because we had bought a few smoked trout fillets up in Grand Marais, Minnesota. It was literally probably the best thing I ever made in my life. While we were eating dinner, everybody was having conversations and I kept having to interrupt and say, "Excuse me guys, can we just talk about how good this stuff is?"

In fact it's so good that Samuel and I had to make it again when we got to Germany. We couldn't find smoked trout, which was kind of a bummer, but I think this was smoked herring. Really any smoked fish will do the trick. Enjoy.

    • Smoked Trout Pasta with Browned Butter, Sage, and Parmesan
    • Serves about 8
    • 24. oz. spaghetti (or gluten free spaghetti)
    • 2 smoked trout fillets (or whatever smoked fish you can get a hold of)
    • Two heads broccoli, chopped
    • 1/2 of a large yellow onion, chopped
    • 4 cloves garlic, minced
    • 8 oz. sliced mushrooms
    • About a tablespoon of chopped fresh sage
    • 1 stick of salted butter (plus a couple tablespoons more for cooking the mushrooms etc.)
    • 1/3 cup chardonnay
    • 3/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese (I actually like to use this kind because it's so fine, but fresh is of course great too!)
    • A handful of chopped cherry tomatoes
    • A handful of chopped walnuts

    • Cook the noodles according to package directions while you prepare everything else.
    • Sauté the broccoli in olive oil at medium high heat until tender and then set aside in a large serving bowl.
    • Sauté the onion, garlic, mushrooms, sage, in a couple tablespoons of butter on high heat until browned and softened. Pour into the serving bowl with the broccoli.
    • Remove the skin and bones from the trout and roughly chop it up. Sauté it until heated through. Add to the serving bowl.
    • Cook the butter in the pan until browned. Add the chardonnay. 
    • Add the cooked and drained noodles to the serving bowl with everything else. Pour the butter/wine mixture over it and add the cheese. Toss everything together until well mixed. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with cherry tomatoes and walnuts and more parmesan cheese if desired. 

    • Note: We also liked this reheated leftover so that the cherry tomatoes got cooked too. If you prefer your cherry tomatoes roasted, you can just throw them in with the trout to cook. Also, the walnuts are not in the picture because Samuel suggested it after I had already almost finished photographing, but they really are a great addition. 

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