Cornmeal-Fried Trout with Spring Peas, Onions, and Nettles
Yields Serves 4
Recipe by Ashleigh Shanti of Benne on Eagle, Asheville, North Carolina
1 cup fine-ground cornmeal
2 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon salt, divided
4 (8-ounce) trout fillets
1 cup spring peas
5 tablespoons grapeseed oil
6 spring onions, cut in half lengthwise
1 cup wild nettles (or spinach)
1 cup buttermilk
Zest of 1 lemon
In a shallow bowl, combine cornmeal, pepper, and cayenne. Season each trout fillet with ½ teaspoon salt then dredge in cornmeal, shaking off excess. Set aside.
Prepare an ice bath. In a medium pot, bring 2 quarts water to a boil. Add spring peas and 2 teaspoons salt. Blanch for 30 seconds, then strain peas and chill in ice bath for 1 minute. Set aside.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a small pan over medium heat. Add spring onions. Once onions have begun to char on one side, flip and cook another minute. Reduce heat to low and add peas and cook until heated through, 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add nettles and remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Stir in buttermilk and lemon zest and set aside.
In a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, heat remaining oil. Once hot, add fillets flesh-side down. When skin begins to curl, about 2 to 3 minutes, flip and cook skin-side down for 30 seconds. Serve immediately topped with warm pea mixture.