Ocean trout with crushed potatoes primavera

Ocean trout with crushed potatoes primavera

William Meppem

‘Primavera’ is a word given to Italian dishes that reflect spring. The potatoes used in this recipe are best if they are small waxy varieties. These are gently overcooked, crushed coarsely with a fork and enriched with fruity new-season olive oil, with the addition of soft, fragrant spring herbs, broad beans and peas, then lastly seasoned with salted ricotta, Italy’s version of fetta. This vegetable dish makes a wonderful accompaniment to the delicate, roasted, crisp-skinned ocean trout, which is similar to Europe’s sea trout or Atlantic char.

Crushed potatoes primavera


Quantity Ingredient
500g waxy potatoes such as kipfler, roseval or jersey royals, peeled
1 garlic clove
3-4 mint sprigs
pinch salt
150ml light and fruity extra-virgin olive oil
100g fresh peas, cooked
100g fresh broad beans, podded, cooked and skinned
3 spring onions, finely sliced
100g ricotta di salata
4 tablespoons chopped chives
2 tablespoons chopped dill
2 tablespoons chopped mint leaves
2 tablespoons chopped basil leaves
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Ocean trout

Quantity Ingredient
salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 175 g centre-cut ocean trout fillets, scaled and pin-boned skin scored many times with the tip of a sharp knife
100ml olive oil


Quantity Ingredient
8 asparagus spears, stems peeled and woody ends removed, about 10 cm long
knob butter
100g iceberg lettuce, very finely shredded
1 bunch sorrel, very finely shredded
100g baby mâche leaves
1/2 bunch mint, leaves finely shredded
1 bunch lemon balm, leaves finely shredded
pinch salt
50ml French dressing
200ml Herb and balsamic dressing


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Cover the potatoes with cold water. Add the garlic, mint and a small pinch of salt and bring to the boil. Simmer gently over a low heat until just cooked. Drain then return to the saucepan. Crush the potatoes with a fork coarsely, stirring in half the extra-virgin olive oil. Cover with a greaseproof paper circle and keep warm.
  3. Season the ocean trout all over. Heat an ovenproof frying pan over a high heat and add the olive oil. Once the oil is beginning to smoke, place the trout fillets skin-side down in the pan. Apply a little pressure with a palette knife on each portion for about 20 seconds, then put the pan in the oven for 4 minutes to roast the fish. There is no need to touch the fish until it is cooked – moving it will break up the skin. After 4 minutes it should be cooked medium–rare in the centre but if you prefer your flesh more cooked simply give it another 3 minutes in the oven and turn the fish over for the final minute.
  4. Meanwhile, fill a large bowl or sink with iced water. Blanch the asparagus in boiling salted water, cook for 1 minute then remove and plunge into the iced water. Once cool, drain and put in a saucepan with a knob of butter, ready to reheat.
  5. Finish the potatoes by reheating in the pan over a medium heat for a few minutes until warm, then add the cooked peas, broad beans, spring onions, ricotta and herbs. Moisten with the remaining extravirgin olive oil and season to taste. Keep warm, covered with a lid.
  6. When cooked, remove the ocean trout from the oven. Drain the fish skin-side down on a tray lined with paper towels. Turn it over carefully and you should have perfect crisp-skinned ocean trout portions.
  7. To serve, reheat the asparagus with the butter. Then arrange an 8 cm biscuit cutter on individual serving plates. Spoon the warm crushed potatoes into the cutter, pressing down firmly then lifting the cutter away carefully. Arrange the ocean trout on top, then 2 pieces of warm asparagus on top of each piece of fish. Put the shredded salad ingredients and herbs into a bowl, season very lightly, add a touch of French dressing and toss together well. Arrange a neat pile of salad on top of the asparagus. Lastly surround with herb and balsamic dressing.

Chef’s note

  • Ricotta di salata is ricotta which has been cured in a brine. It is more delicate than fetta, but still very salty, so season the crushed potatoes only very lightly because of this.
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