Recipe: Cayuga Lake Trout with Pinot Noir and Red Grapes

This spirited dish is rich in flavor and showcases the robust flavor of lake trout.




From Executive Chef Gregory Rhoads of the Aurora Inn in Aurora, New York, this spirited dish is rich in flavor and showcases the robust flavor of lake trout.

6 8-ounce fillets of fresh lake trout
2 ounces cooking oil
2 ounces whole butter
1 medium red onion, julienned
1 small leek (white part only), cleaned and julienned
3 poblano peppers, grill roasted, peeled seeded and cut in strips
2 jicama, peeled sliced and cut into ¼" strips
1 pound red grapes, cut in half and seeded
½ cup Finger Lakes Pinot Noir
½ cup red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
4 ounces salted butter, cold
Salt and pepper, to taste
A dash of Cayenne pepper

To prepare the fish: Season fillets with salt and pepper, then sear in a hot pan with oil and butter. Cook both sides until slightly golden brown (about 2 minutes per side), then remove and place in ovenproof pan to finish. Cook about 12 minutes at 350 F. The trout should still be slightly translucent in the middle.

To prepare the sauce: Remove the oil from the searing pan, then add the onion and leek and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the pepper, jícama and red grapes, then toss and allow pan to come back up to high heat. When hot deglaze with wine and vinegar Reduce quickly by half. Finish with butter and season

To plate: Remove fish from oven and pour sauce and vegetables on top. Serves 6.

To read about Senior Editor Susan Kostrzewa's trout angling adventure in the Finger Lakes wine region, see Food for Thought in the Finger Lakes.

Chef's Notes
"This recipe for Susan's fresh catch was done in collaboration with one of our sous chefs, Bernard Oshaben. What make things special here in Aurora are the people, but particularly the staff. We could not achieve great food and service without all of their efforts. We were uncertain what exactly Susan was going to come up with on her fishing expedition; bass, pike, rainbow or lake trout, which all have slightly different flavor profiles. So we wanted to be flexible in preparation. Fortunately the 9 pound trout was beautiful and just what we were looking forward to and actually yielded 6 nice 8-9ounce portions. It is a firm, slightly pinkish white fish but not all that mild and lends itself to a more robust preparation. Coincidently we had tried some local Pinot Noirs earlier that week, and Bernie wanted to prepare it with a red wine butter sauce.

The fish held up very nicely to a hard pan searing just seasoned with salt and pepper. We removed the fish and finished in the oven. With a fish this fresh you don't want to cook it too long, about 12 minutes in the oven and still a little translucent in the middle. After removing the fish we added julienned red onion, a little leek, roasted poblano peppers, jícama and red grapes. Over high heat we quickly sautéed these ingredients without overcooking. Next we deglazed the pan with the red wine and an equal amount of red wine vinegar (about a cup each) and quickly reduced by half. We finished the pan sauce with about 4 ounces of whole butter, swirling quickly to emulsify the sauce and finished with chopped fresh cilantro, salt, cracked black pepper and a dash of cayenne. 

The fish was served over fresh grilled asparagus and a healthy helping of the pan sauce. A nice combination of earthy flavor, a little sweet and a little bite. The fish stands up nicely to these bolder flavors. To accompany things we served it with a light spring succotash of spring peas, baby limas, radicchio, and zucchini; nicely dressed in lemon vinaigrette. We enjoy our fresh fish here at the Inn very simply prepared and uncomplicated."

Recommended Wine: Pinot Noir from Hearts & Hands Winery. 

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