Salsa verde is one of the most useful and versatile sauces. Ingredients can vary, but the basic idea is to make a mildly piquant sauce in which the explosive aromas of fresh herbs come shining through.
4–5 bay leaves
a few sprigs of thyme
a hanful of fresh chives
1 onion, finely sliced
1 large trout
100ml white wine
salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the salsa verde:
1 small garlic clove
a small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, trimmed of coarse stalks
15–20 basil leaves
leaves from 3–4 sprigs of tarragon
2–3 anchovy fillets
1 tsp capers
1 tsp mustard (Dijon or English)
a pinch of sugar
a few drops of lemon juice or vinegar
1–2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
1. First make the salsa verde. Finely chop the garlic on a large chopping board. Then add the herbs, anchovies and capers and chop all together until the ingredients are well mixed and fairly fine in texture. Transfer to a bowl and mix in a little mustard, sugar, lemon juice or vinegar, black pepper and enough olive oil to give a glossy, spoonable consistency. As you add these last ingredients, taste and tweak the mixture till you get something you really like. This sauce is best made immediately before serving but it will keep for a few days, covered, in the fridge.
2. Tear off 2 sheets of foil a little bit longer than your fish and lay one on top of the other. Spread butter on the dull side of the upper sheet. Scatter some of the bay leaves, thyme, chives and onion over the buttered foil and lay the trout. Dollop butter on top of the fish. Push a bay leaf, a couple of slices of onion and a knob of butter into the belly of the fish. Season well with salt and pepper. Lift up and lightly scrunch the sides and ends of the foil, so you can pour the white wine into the parcel without it leaking out.
3. Lay the foil parcel on a baking tray and seal the foil, scrunching the 2 sides together. Place in a hot oven (220°C) for from 20 minutes (for a 500g fish) to 45 minutes (for a 2kg fish).
4. Remove the fish from the oven and open the foil. Check it is cooked through by slipping a knife into the lateral line at the thickest part. If the flesh is still a little translucent and sticking to the bone, then wrap the foil back around it and leave to rest for a few minutes to complete the transfer of heat.
5. Remove the skin of the fish and lift the fillets away from the backbone. Lay these on a warmed plate and spoon over some of the cooking juices from the foil. Serve with salsa verde on the side and some plain boiled new potatoes.