Potted trout with pickled fennel on rye

Potted trout with pickled fennel on rye

The New Nordic
Simon Bajada

Fennel is a very popular ingredient across all Nordic countries and I love its strong anise flavour. Although originating from the Mediterranean, it is a winter vegetable that grows happily this far north. Trout rivers can be found inland almost anywhere you travel in the region, and the fly-fishing culture is strong. In this recipe, I have used a slightly more conventional preparation method, perhaps closer to the classical French or English styles, which sits well alongside the multitude of traditional Nordic preservation techniques. The natural sweetness of the butter and fish is a great match for the slightly sour rye bread. Ask your fishmonger to gut the fish for you.


Quantity Ingredient
1 x 700g whole trout
250g unsalted butter
1 garlic clove, finely grated
pinch white pepper
1 teaspoon ground fennel seeds
1 lemon, finely grated zest
1 teaspoon very finely chopped thyme leaves
Authentic Danish rye bread, to serve
A simpler Danish rye bread, to serve
or sourdough, to serve
1 Light pickling solution, using 1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
radishes, thinly sliced into cold water, to serve
dill fronds, to garnish


  1. Sterilise a glass jar by washing it thoroughly in hot soapy water, rinsing well, then putting it on a baking tray in a low oven (120°C) for 20 minutes. Leave to cool.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Salt the inside of the trout and wrap it loosely in foil, sealing it like an envelope. Cook in the oven for 12–15 minutes. To check for doneness, open the foil and use a fork to pull the flesh away from the bones. If it comes away easily and there is no translucent flesh, it is ready. Flake off all the flesh and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, clarify the butter by melting it in a small saucepan over a low heat until the white solids separate out. Gently pour the golden melted butter into a frying pan and discard the solids.
  4. Warm the clarified butter then add the garlic, white pepper and fennel seeds. Sizzle gently for 1–2 minutes then remove the frying pan from the heat and add the lemon zest and thyme. Stir for a few seconds, then add a pinch of salt.
  5. Spread out the trout on a plate, trickle over four-fifths of the spiced butter and mix together gently. Spoon the mixture into the sterilised jar, packing it in firmly and ensuring there are no air pockets.
  6. Pour the remaining spiced butter on top to seal the mixture. Chill in the refrigerator for at least a day to set. (It can be kept in the refrigerator for up to a week.)
  7. To serve, remove from the refrigerator 20 minutes before eating, spread the trout on slices of rye bread (toasted, if you like) and top with pickled fennel, drained radish slices and dill.
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