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Grilled Pancetta-Wrapped Trout with Verjus and Crushed Grapes

Grilled Pancetta-Wrapped Trout with Verjus and Crushed Grapes

From: Chef Suzanne Goin, Lucques Restaurant, San Francisco. Yield: 6 servings.

3 Tbsp. unsalted butter

1½ cups thinly sliced onion

1 tsp. thyme leaves

1½ cups sliced sorrel

⅓ cup heavy cream

6 trout (8 oz. each), boneless and butterflied

6 slices pancetta, about ⅛" thick

1 cup red seedless California grapes

3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

2 Tbsp. sliced flat leaf parsley

½ lemon, juice only

1 bunch watercress, cleaned and tough stems removed

to taste, kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

as needed, Verjus Sauce (recipe follows)

Verjus Sauce:

1½ cups red seedless California grapes

1 small shallot, thinly sliced

1 cup verjus

8 Tbsp. cold, unsalted butter cut into small pieces

1 lemon

to taste, kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

For trout: Heat a medium saute pan over medium heat for 1 minute. Add the butter; when it foams, stir in red onion. Add the thyme, a healthy pinch of salt, and a pinch of black pepper. Saute about 10 minutes, until onion is translucent and soft. Add the sorrel to the pan and stir to combine. Turn the heat up to medium high, add the cream and cook, stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes as the cream reduces and coats the onions. Taste for seasoning and remove to plate to cool completely.

Lay the trout skin-side down on a cutting board, open like a book. Season lightly with salt and pepper and spread the sorrel onions on one side of each fish. Fold the fish back together and wrap each trout with a piece of pancetta, spiraling the meat around the fish like a candy cane. Refrigerate the fish until 15 minutes before cooking.

Meanwhile, using a mortar and pestle, pound the grapes until they're partially crushed. Transfer to a bowl and stir in 2 Tbsp. olive oil, parsley, a healthy pinch of salt and a pinch of black pepper. When the coals are broken down, red and glowing, brush the trout with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the trout about 3 minutes on each side, rotating the fish a quarter turn after a couple of minutes to get the skin crispy. Scatter the watercress on a large platter and place the trout on top. Spoon warm verjus sauce over the fish and top with the crushed grapes.

For verjus sauce: Place the grapes, shallot and verjus in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add ⅛ tsp. salt and simmer until the liquid is reduced by ¾. Let the mixture cool until lukewarm. Transfer to a blender and add the cold butter, a little at a time, with the motor running, blending just until butter is incorporated. Taste for seasoning and add a little lemon and more salt, if you like, Return sauce to the pan, cover, and keep in a warm place. Reheat just before serving.