Trucha a la Navarra - with rice and red pepper sauce

Recipe by Neil Morris - 16 October 2012

trucha a la navarra

Region: Navarra

Preparation: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 30 minutes

Method: grill and hob

Difficulty: medium

Serves: 4

non-veg-icon

There are so many recipes for the classic dish Trucha a la Navarra but this is my favourite way of cooking it; grilled and then served on a bed of delicious rice flavoured with nuts, ginger and tarragon and accompanied by a sweet pepper sauce. And believe me, it is soooo good!

This is a great sharing dish; just place the dish in the middle of the table and let everyone get stuck in! No frills, no fuss - just good Spanish home-cooking at its rustic best.

Shopping list

  • extra virgin olive oil (aceite de oliva virgen extra)
  • 75g mixed almonds and hazelnuts (almendras y avellanas)
  • 1 small red onion (cebolla roja)
  • 2 cm piece of fresh ginger (jengibre)
  • 6 fl oz basmati rice (arroz basmati)
  • 12 fl oz vegetable stock (caldo de veduras)
  • 6 large tomatoes (tomates)
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley (perejil)
  • 1 tbsp chopped tarragon (estragón)
  • 1 large or 2 small fresh trout (trucha)
  • 12 slices serrano ham (rebanadas de jamón serrano)
  • 1 tsp golden caster sugar (azúcar en polvo dorado)
  • 1 red pepper (pimiento rojo)
  • salt (salt)
  • freshly ground black pepper (pimienta recién molida negro)

Method

Start by preparing the rice. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a heavy-based frying pan with a lid. Finely the chop the onion and fry for a few minutes over a medium heat until soft but not browned. Finely chop the ginger and add to the onions and stir together for a minute or so. Now stir in the rice until coated in oil then add the hot vegetable stock, season, stir once and then put on the lid and reduce heat to the lowest setting. Leave for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, toast the nuts in another hot frying pan for a few minutes but do not burn. Then chop them roughly and add to a large mixing bowl.

Score a cross in the tomato skins then cover in boiling water for about 20 seconds then immediately transfer to cold water. Now peel the skins from the tomatoes and then remove the cores and seeds. Put four tomatoes aside for the sauce and finely chop the other two and add to the bowl with the nuts. Finely chop the herbs and add to the nuts and tomatoes.

After the rice has cooked for 15 minutes, turn off the heat and remove the lid. Cover the rice with a clean tea towel and then put the lid back on.

Season the inside of the trout and place two slices of ham in the cavity. Wrap the fish in four slices of the ham, stuffing the ends in the cavity (some Trucha a la Navarra recipes advise using cocktail sticks to secure the ham but I do not find it necessary if handled correctly). Repeat if using more than one fish.

For the sauce, warm another tablespoon of olive oil in a small pan; finely chop the remaining tomatoes and add to the pan. Warm gently for 5 minutes. Chop the red pepper in fine strips and add to the sauce with the tsp of sugar and season with salt and pepper. Cook gently for a further 10 minutes.

Heat the grill to a high setting and place the fish under the grill and cook for four minutes on each side; be careful to keep the ham wrapped when turning. Mix the rice with the tomatoes, herbs and nuts and transfer to a large serving dish and place at the bottom of the grill or oven to keep warm while the fish is cooking.

To serve this delicious Trucha a la Navarra dish, carefully place the cooked fish on top of the rice, spoon over the red pepper sauce and garnish with more tarragon leaves. Serve straight to the table in the dish and let your delighted guests help themselves.

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