LA CABANE D’À COTÉ IS A RURAL RESTAURANT SITUATED AT THE HEART OF A MAPLE PLANTATION AND APPLE ORCHARD. Everything served here is cooked on our wood-fired maple syrup evaporator table. The dishes are simple and rustic; the cooking is a showcase for local sourcing and freshness. Trout from Kenauk Nature in Montebello is the freshest fish we can source and a staple on our menu. This dish and its garnishes evolve with the seasons – just like the maple leaves that lend it flavour. Steaming trout with gentle heat is an ideal cooking technique for such a delicate fish. This sort of dish is ideal for sharing at a family table or even on a camping trip. The recipe that follows is from our summer table and you should make whatever changes you like – as long as you cook it with love.
- 100 ml (3 oz) olive oil
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1 stalk rhubarb, thinly sliced
- 1 leaf Swiss chard, thinly sliced
- 50 ml (¼ cup) honey
- salt, pepper
- 50 ml (¼ cup) red wine vinegar
- 250 ml (1 cup) red wine
- 200 ml (¾ cup) mixed berries
- 100 ml (⅓ cup) small fruit
- 1 whole trout, cleaned, about 1 kg (2 lb)
- 1 green onion
- 1 sprig thyme
- 1 sprig tarragon
- 20 to 30 fresh maple leaves*
- 6 cherry tomatoes, sliced
- 2 radishes, thinly sliced
- 2 small turnips, thinly sliced
- 1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced
- 1 Lebanese cucumber, thinly sliced
- fine olive oil
- salt, pepper
- 200 ml (¾ cup) crème fraîche
- mixed fresh herbs and edible flowers
- 75 g (3 oz) trout roe
- fleur de sel
Heat 30 ml (2 tbsp) of the olive oil in a saucepan on medium heat. Add the shallot, rhubarb and chard, and sweat until softened — about 3 minutes. Add the honey and reduce until nearly evaporated. Season with salt and pepper and then add the vinegar. Reduce until nearly evaporated. Add the red wine and reduce by half. Let mixture cool slightly. Add the berries and small fruits, and stir. Add the remaining 75 ml (⅓ cup) olive oil. Stir again and correct seasoning. Set the vinaigrette jardinière aside and keep warm.
Prepare a steamer large enough to accommodate the trout. Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Holding the trout by the tail, submerge the fish in the boiling water for 15 seconds, then plunge it into an ice bath. Transfer to a work surface lined with paper towels. With a small knife, gently remove the skin from the fish** and then dab it dry with a clean kitchen towel. Season fish with salt and pepper. Tuck the green onion, thyme and tarragon in its cavity, then wrap in maple leaves and, finally, a sheet of parchment paper tied at both ends. Transfer to the steamer. After 7 minutes, flip the fish. Cook until a small knife inserted at its centre emerges warm to the touch — about 15 minutes in total.
Transfer to a work surface and remove the parchment paper (reserve the maple leaves for garnish if desired). Fillet the fish and transfer to a warm platter. To finish, combine tomato, radish, turnip, fennel and cucumber in a bowl. Season with olive oil, salt and pepper and toss. Dress four plates with crème fraîche and top with the mixed vegetables. Scatter with herbs, flowers and trout roe. Divide the trout between the plates and season with fleur de sel. Top trout with a spoonful of vinaigrette jardinière.
*If maple leaves are unavailable, wrap the fish with parchment paper only.
**If the skin does not come off easily, blanch the fish again.
Photos by Dominique Lafond