Alex Roberts's father, Don, took up full-time farming in his sixties, after a career as a librarian. He and his partner, Joni Cash, now own a 40-acre property in Otter Creek, Wisconsin, where they grow a huge assortment of organic produce, including the chiles and tomatillos that make the base for this smoky sauce. Alex pairs it with grilled local trout and a tart salad made with his father's cucumbers. "Dad gives me a list of what he's growing at the beginning of every season, and I plan my menus around that," he says.
More Healthy Fish Dishes
One medium cucumber—peeled, seeded and sliced into thin half-moons
2 dried guajillo chiles
1 dried chipotle chile
2 cups boiling water
5 medium tomatillos, husked and rinsed out (6 ounces)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more for brushing
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 small onion, diced
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons chopped mint
Freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup sour cream
1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
Four 6- to 8-ounce trout fillets, with skin
How to Make It
In a colander, toss the cucumber with » teaspoon of salt and let stand until wilted, about 25 minutes. Pat dry.
Meanwhile, soak the guajillo and chipotle chiles in the boiling water until softened, 20 minutes. Discard the stems and seeds and coarsely chop the chiles.
Light a grill. Grill the tomatillos over high heat until they are charred all over, about 5 minutes. Discard the charred skins and coarsely chop the tomatillos.
In a small skillet, heat the 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Add two-thirds of the minced garlic and the onion and cook them over moderate heat until softened, about 7 minutes. Transfer to a blender and add the chopped chiles and tomatillos and the cilantro and mint. Puree the sauce and season with salt and pepper.
In a medium bowl, toss the wilted cucumbers with the sour cream, jalapeño, parsley and the remaining minced garlic. Season with salt and pepper.
Brush the trout fillets with vegetable oil and season with salt and pepper. Oil the grate and grill the fish over high heat, skin side down, until the skin is crisp, about 3 minutes. Turn the fish and grill until it is just cooked through, about 2 minutes longer. Transfer the fish to plates and serve with the chile-tomatillo sauce and cucumber salad alongside.
The chile-tomatillo sauce can be refrigerated overnight. Bring the sauce to room temperature before serving.
Trout, like most freshwater fish, is fairly delicate (even when grilled), so a large-scale wine is apt to overwhelm it. A California rosé is light enough to pair with the trout but has enough ripe fruitiness for the spicy tomatillo sauce.
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