Fish for Friday: Panfried trout by River Cottage Australia's Paul West

Hannah Koelmeyer
30 March, 2015

Paul West, host of River Cottage Australia, shares his recipe for panfried trout with braised peas, just in time for Good Friday.

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's River Cottage debuted over 15 years ago, immediately striking a chord with those who dreamed of escaping the city life to embrace the joys and challenges of living off the land. 

Bringing the concept to Australia was a no-brainer, with the lush, rolling hills of Tilba in central New South Wales becoming the Antipodean counterpart to Fearnley-Whittingstall's Dorset. The baton was passed to host Paul West, an accomplished chef (formerly of Melbourne's Vue de Monde) with a country upbringing and a passion for sustainable agriculture. 

Photos by Mark Chew

With River Cottage Australia about to enter its third season, West has just released his first cookbook, The River Cottage Australia Cookbook (Bloomsbury, RRP $45), full of recipes from all three seasons, showcasing the series' focus on seasonal, sustainable eating. With Easter just around the corner, West has kindly shared this beautiful trout recipe for those who like to eat fish on Good Friday (although if you're being strict you'll need to omit the speck and use vegetable stock instead of chicken). 

Paul West's Panfried Trout with Braised Peas

Photo by Mark Chew

Trout has a lovely, fine skin and sweet, oily flesh that is ideal for panfrying. Couple it with a generous bowl of sweet, braised peas and you’ve got a quick but seriously tasty meal. This dish will go down a treat in front of a roaring fire after a long day wading in alpine streams.


200g piece of speck, cut into batons

oil, for frying

1 small brown onion, finely sliced

2 garlic cloves, minced

250ml (1 cup) chicken stock

310g (2 cups) podded green peas

4 trout fillets, skin on

salt and pepper

knob of butter

small bunch of mint, finely chopped

1 lemon

60g (½ cup) slivered almonds, toasted

Heat a deep-sided frypan over a medium–high heat. Fry the speck in a little oil, stirring until it is nicely coloured all over.

Next, add the onion and garlic and cook until the onion begins to soften and the garlic becomes aromatic. Pour in the chicken stock and bring to the boil, then as soon as it’s bubbling away add the peas.

While the peas are cooking you can cook your trout fillets. Heat a second pan over a medium heat and season the fillets lightly with salt and pepper. Cook the fillets skin-side down until the skin is brown and crispy and then turn and cook for only a few seconds on the other side.

At the same time, simmer the peas until the stock is reduced and they are just cooked. Toss in the knob of butter and swirl the pan until the butter has emulsified with the chicken stock to make a creamy sauce. Add the chopped mint to the pan, give it one more swirl and then check the seasoning, finishing with a big squeeze of lemon juice.

Transfer the trout fillets to serving plates and top with the buttery, braised peas and toasted almonds.

If you'd like to meet Paul West, he'll be hosting book launch events up and down the East Coast throughout April. And for more Good Friday fish recipes, check out our collection of fresh ways to eat fish on Good Friday.


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