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!

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

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.

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

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

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