Photo Courtesy of Robert Bredvad / Food Styling by Barrett Washburne
Prop Styling: Andie McMahon
Courtesy Mattia Piffer, chef, Scrigno del Duomo Restaurant, Trento
Hearty food like polenta, canederli (bread dumplings) and goulash is a hallmark of the Trentino-Alto Adige (aka Trentino-Südtirol) region that borders Austria. Yet, its many lakes and rivers make it a fishing paradise. The quick-cured fish here recalls local cured-meat specialties like speck and carne salada. Chef Piffer uses the local Luz brand gin, but any gin will do.
To cure the trout, mix one tablespoon lemon zest, salt, sugar and dill in a bowl. Lay a sheet of plastic wrap on the counter. Cover the trout on all sides with the salt mixture, then lay on the plastic and wrap tightly. Place on a deep plate or dish. Put something heavy on top (like a flat dish) and refrigerate for at least 12 and up to 24 hours. When ready to prepare the dish, rinse the fish to remove all the coating, pat dry, cut into small dice and set aside.
Cook spaghettoni according to package directions. While pasta cooks, add gin to a large and deep sauté pan over high heat and boil until gin reduces by half, then reduce heat to low and maintain at a simmer.
Drain pasta and add to gin, tossing for a minute so the pasta absorbs the gin. Remove pan from heat and add remaining lemon zest and butter. Toss until butter melts; doing this off the heat will result in a creamy, rather than greasy, sauce.
To assemble the dish, twirl the pasta into nests onto each of four plates. Divide the diced trout on top of each nest and garnish with the trout roe and sprouts or chives. Serves 4.
“This recipe showcases both a soft, creamy note coming from the pasta, and an incredible aromaticity from the gin and the herbs,” says Roberto Anesi, an award-winning sommelier based in Trento. “It’s complemented perfectly by the freshness of Trentodoc [Trento DOC sparkling] wines, as well as the roundness and smoothness from long lees aging, another defining trait of Trentodoc. The refined aromatic profile of Chardonnay is enhanced by this dish, but avoid barrel aged, because the wooden scents would overwhelm the dish’s delicate profile and harmony.”
This article originally appeared in the August/September 2022 issue of Wine Enthusiast magazine. Click here to subscribe today!