While perusing the fish options at Whole Foods recently, my attention was captured by the trout. According to the powers-that-be at Whole Foods (or whomever wrote the little note in front of each fish variety at least), trout goes great with sage, citrus and bacon (BACON!!!). Ordinarily I think of fish as requiring more delicate flavors. In fact, when I was living in Italy I distinctly remember the passionate view of my Italian roommates who insisted you should never, NEVER combine fish with cheese in recipes. (I did not entirely agree with that, by the way.) The given reason for this “RULE” of Italian cooking is the flavors of fish are much too delicate to withstand the strong flavor of cheese. Strong flavors supposedly overpower fish. So when I saw the bacon recommendation for trout I was intrigued. Who is this fish that defies such a universal truth?
Another reminder of my former life in Italy was the gorgeous blood oranges I found in the produce section. Hmmm. Blood oranges qualify as citrus. I added them to my cart and began to formulate my plan for an amazing paleo fish recipe.
Rounding out the cast of characters is the cassava root. Cassava, also known as yuca or manioc, is a major staple food in the developing world. It is very commonly found in South America and in many African countries. Cassava (yuca) is similar in taste to white potatoes but starchier and slightly sweeter. Like white potatoes, cassava (yuca) must be cooked before it can be eaten. But unlike white potatoes, which are part of the nightshade family of plants and thus considered inflammatory, properly prepared cassava is anti-inflammatory. It is also high in Vitamin C and Manganese. Because cassava has no gluten, it can be used as a substitute flour in certain gluten-free recipes.
After gathering my ingredients, I decided to make a cassava and bacon hash that could work as part of breakfast or as a side dish for any meal where you may choose to eat starchier carbohydrates – especially good after a workout. The trout would be combined with sage and the blood oranges and together the two dishes would create one amazing paleo meal. The flavor combinations do indeed work really well just as advised by Whole Foods. And contrary to what my former Italian roommates might have predicted, the bacon is a great complement to this particular variety of fish.
The recipes are broken down separately to make it easier to prepare each individual dish.
Cassava and Bacon Hash
- 1 medium-large (approximately 1 pound) cassava root (yuca, manioc)
- 1 small onion, diced
- 4 strips of organic, nitrate/nitrite free bacon, diced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Peel the cassava with a potato peeler and dice into small (1/2 inch) pieces.
- Place diced cassava in a pan of cold water and bring to a simmer, cooking until not quite done and still firm, 3-4 minutes. Strain and set aside.
- Cook the diced bacon on medium heat until the fat is rendered and the bacon is crispy. Strain the bacon out of the pan and reserve.
- Cook the diced onion in the bacon fat until softened, about 4 minutes.
- Add the partially cooked cassava, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage and 1/4 teaspoon pepper to the pan and sauté until fully cooked and browned on the outside. Approximately 10 minutes. (Add a little bit of water if the mixture sticks too much.) Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm.
Trout with Blood Orange Sauce
- 2 pounds of trout
- 2 tablespoons olive oil or bacon grease (or other fat of your choice)
- 1 teaspoon rubbed sage
- sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 3 blood oranges
- Zest one of the oranges and set aside. Juice two and one half of the oranges and slice the remaining half orange into rounds for garnish. Reserve.
- Lightly season the trout fillets with salt and pepper and sprinkle with the one teaspoon of sage. (Add more if you really like sage.)
- Heat a non-stick skillet on medium-high, add some olive oil and sauté trout, skin side down, for 1-2 minutes. Lower the temperature a bit, carefully turn the fish over and continue cooking on the other side until done all the way through but not dry. You will probably have to do this in two to three batches.
- Add the blood orange juice (approximately 3/4 cup) to the pan where you cooked the fish. Reduce by about half. Add the zest of one orange and mix into the sauce.
- Arrange the cassava and bacon hash on a serving tray.
- Place the cooked trout on top.
- Drizzle the blood orange sauce over the fish and garnish with the orange slices.
- Serves 4-6 adults depending on the amount of fish per person. You may have leftovers….
Thanks for visiting! Let me know how it turns out if you try either or both of these dishes.
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