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You make salmon once a week and it’s fine, but you want to switch up dinner with a different type of fish. Try this caramelized black pepper trout, from Ali Slagle’s I Dream of Dinner, which features a hot and sweet sauce that’s good on more than fish.
If you can’t source trout, she suggests mackerel or bluefin as alternatives. You can also use tofu, cubed chicken thighs, winter squash or a brassica (like cabbage, cauliflower or Brussels sprouts) instead of fish, but if the ingredient takes more than 4 minutes to cook, give it a head start by searing before adding the sauce.
Reprinted from I Dream of Dinner. Copyright © 2022 by Alexandra Slagle. Photographs copyright © 2022 by Mark Weinberg. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Random House.
1 cup long-grain white rice
⅓ cup dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Four 5- to 6-ounce trout fillets (or another thin fish, like mackerel or bluefish)
2 bunches broccolini, ends trimmed
¾ cup chopped cilantro (leaves and stems)
1 tablespoon neutral oil
1. Cook the rice according to the package directions while you prepare the fish.
2. In a measuring cup, stir together the brown sugar, ¼ cup water, the soy sauce, rice vinegar, the garlic and 1 teaspoon black pepper.
3. Pat the trout fillets dry and season with salt and pepper; the skin can be left on or removed. Halve any big pieces of broccolini lengthwise so all the pieces are about the same thickness.
4. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon neutral oil over medium-high heat. Add the broccolini, season with salt and pepper and cook, tossing occasionally, until bright green and lightly charred, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium, add 2 tablespoons water, cover and cook until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
5. Add the sauce to the skillet. When it’s boiling, add the fish, skin side down (if there’s skin) and simmer, basting the fish with the sauce, until the fish flakes with a fork and the sauce is syrupy, about 5 minutes. If the sauce is syrupy before the fish is done, add a little water; if the fish is done before the sauce, remove the fish and keep cooking the sauce.
6. Add the cilantro to the rice and fluff until combined. Eat the fish and broccolini over the rice, with plenty of sauce.