Roasted cauliflower is one of the most delectable of vegetables and even more so when morphed into a risotto. The trick to capturing that roasted flavor is in caramelizing the cauliflower over high heat so that it browns before being tossed with a little cream. When paired with simple herb-rubbed ruby trout, it is absolutely divine. So few ingredients…so much flavor.
It’s that easy: Thyme has a woody stem, so it’s best to strip the leaves from the stems before chopping them up into a fine mince. To do this, hold the thyme sprig on the tender end and strip the leaves in a downward motion with your other hand. No worries if the tender tip pulls off. It can be minced up with the stripped leaves.
- 2 shallots, minced
- 1/2 tsp. minced fresh thyme plus a few sprigs for garnish
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 24 oz. ruby trout, skin removed
- Salt for sprinkling, plus 1/2 tsp.
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 5 to 6 cups riced cauliflower (packaged in the Produce Department) or 1 head cauliflower, finely chopped
- 3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
- Mince the shallot and thyme on a large cutting board into individual piles. Measure out the cream. Pat the salmon filets dry and sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the minced thyme over the fish and pat it lightly with your fingers so that it sticks. Measure out the cauliflower.
- Heat a 12-in. frying pan with a lid over medium-high heat and add 1 tbsp. of oil. When the oil shimmers, add the trout to the pan and brown it, flesh-side-down, about 2 minutes. Flip the fish with a thin-edged spatula and cook the other side for another minute. Transfer the fish to a plate. It won’t be cooked at this point.
- Add the shallot to the hot pan and sauté for 30 seconds or until it begins to soften. Add the cauliflower, the 1/2 tsp. salt and pepper and the remaining 2 tbsp. olive oil, tossing until everything is coated with the oil.
- Allow the cauliflower to cook undisturbed for about 3 minutes or until it begins to brown. Scrape the bottom of the pan with the spatula flipping the cauliflower over and cook undisturbed for another 3 minutes or until it browns again. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt and pepper if needed. Add the cream and give it a stir. It will boil immediately. Top with the fish. Cover and cook over low heat for another 2 minutes or until the fish flakes. If you’re wondering where the cream went, the cauliflower absorbed most of it.
- Mound the cauliflower risotto into heated shallow bowls and top it with the fish. Garnish the plate with the extra thyme sprigs if desired.
Extra Hungry? How about a salad of red leaf lettuce and halved grape tomatoes with a splash of balsamic and a glug of olive oil?
In the glass: A medium-bodied Pinot Noir is a classic pairing with this rich dish. Pinots can be pricey, but there are a few widely available bottles for under $25 such as Definitive or A to Z. If you’re more of a white wine fan, your favorite bottle of Chardonnay will be delish.