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In his newest book Big Bad Breakfast, author John Currence demonstrates why, in the tiny town of Oxford, Mississippi, he has six restaurants and they are all packed. Born in New Orleans, John’s Southern heritage is evident on every page. The recipes are designed for elevated breakfasts but many, like this one, make for a perfect dinner, too.

Some people love fish. Some don’t. They are a tad hard to cook because you can turn them into dry leather in a flash. And the taste of the fish is often lost in sauce or accompanying sides. Only two fish seem to stand up full bodied: salmon and trout. And, if you have ever been to a wedding or bar mitzvah, you’ve had salmon.

I actually prefer trout, but I’m lazy when I cook them, choosing the simplest possible recipe, but one that works for all fish. I sauté in a little butter with some lemon juice and capers. This recipe makes me want to explore more. The trout has an intensive enough flavor so that the eggs and mushrooms here are not going to overwhelm it. Those additions will, in fact, yield the core of a rich meal. A side salad, a glass of wine. And a sigh.

You can see my book review of Big Bad Breakfast here. Yes, big. No, not bad at all. And, no, not just for breakfast.

Sautéed Trout, Soft Scrambled Eggs, Chanterelle Mushrooms

Yield: serves 2

For the fish:

  • 2 (4- to 5-ounce) skin-on trout fillets, scaled
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons bacon fat
  • 2 tablespoons clarified butter or your preferred cooking fat
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallot
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 ½ cups chanterelle mushrooms, cut into large bite-size slices
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon white wine
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

For the eggs:

  • 5 eggs
  • 5 tablespoons whole milk
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons clarified butter or your preferred cooking fat


Preheat the oven to 200°

Season the trout fillets with salt and pepper. Warm the bacon fat in a 10-inch sauté pan over high heat for 30 seconds. Carefully place the fillets, skin side down in the pan and allow to sit, undisturbed, for 1 minute. Loosen the fillets with a spatula and flip them over to cook the flesh side. Lower the heat to medium and cook, shaking the pan gently to keep the flesh from sticking, until the skin begins to brown slightly around the edges, about 2 minutes. Flip the fillets over again and cook the skin side until the trout is firm to the to the touch, about 1 ½ minutes more. Remove the trout and drain on a paper towel-lined baking sheet and place in the warm oven.

In the same pan, warm the clarified butter over medium heat for 30 seconds. Add the shallot and garlic and cook, stirring, just until warmed through, about 30 seconds. Add the mushrooms and thyme and sauté, stirring gently, until the mushrooms begin to soften and their edges begin to get crispy, about1 ½ minutes. Stir in the wine, lemon juice, and parsley. Remove from the heat but keep the pan on the stove top to stay warm.

To make the scrambled eggs, stir together the eggs, milk and a sprinkling of salt and pepper with a fork in a large bowl; set aside.

Warm the clarified butter in a 10-inch nonstick skillet over low heat for 1 minute. Pour in the eggs and allow 1 to sit, without stirring, for 15 seconds. With a silicon spatula, push the eggs from one side of the pan gently toward the other side, then tilt the pan and allow the uncooked eggs to fill the void. Allow the eggs to sit again without stirring, for 15 seconds, then push the eggs to the opposite side and tilt the pan again. Run your spatula around the edge of the pan, tilting and allowing the let of the uncooked egg to move to the bottom of the pan Just as the eggs are almost set but still a tiny bit runny, give them a gentle stir and remove from the heat.

To assemble, divide the scrambled eggs between 2 plates, top with a trout fillet (flesh side up), and spoon the mushrooms over the top. Serve immediately.

Source: Big Bad Breakfast by John Currence [Ten Speed Press, 2016]