Thai Baked Trout

I had a summer lunch party the other day. I wanted something not too stressful as I knew I would have a hangover from the previous night. I was right – the hangover was in full effect – I hadn’t really thought my stress free plan of baking a whole ocean trout – the thing was so huge it wouldn’t even fit in the oven – so, with a large headache and a delicate stomach, I had to hack off its head and tail. Not too bad – and after that, the rest was pretty plain sailing as I’d planned curry paste’s ahead!

INGREDIENTS:
2.5kg whole ocean trout (gutted and cleaned-and trimmed to fit your oven!)
1 small bunch fresh mint
1 small bunch fresh coriander
4 spring onions (roughly chopped)
1 lime (sliced)
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons panang curry paste* (see below for recipe)
250ml coconut milk

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat oven to 190ºC

Mix together the coconut milk, curry paste and fish sauce. Cut shallow slits across the skin of the fish, both sides. Place the fish on a large baking dish then pour over 3/4 of the curry mix and rub all over. Pour the rest of the curry mix into a bowl with the coriander, mint and lime slices – stir then stuff the fishes cavity with this mixture. Cover the baking sheet with foil and bake in the oven for about 40 minutes. A rough guide for cooking the trout is 15 minutes per kilogram – a knife when inserted into the fleshiest part of the fish should come out hot but not too hot.

SERVING:
I served mine with an Asian salad and some fragrant lemon Jasmine rice.

*Panang Curry Paste:
1 dried red chilli
1 lemon grass stalk (white only – chopped)
1.5cm piece of galangal (chopped)
3 garlic cloves (chopped)
2 shallots (peeled and chopped)
3 coriander roots and stems (chopped)
1/2 teaspoon shrimp paste
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons unsalted peanuts

DIRECTIONS:
Pound all ingredients in a pestle & mortar or in a blender into a thick, smooth paste.

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