I cooked the brown trout I caught on Saturday, opening day of Michigan’s trout season, and I’m very excited about how it turned out.

I used some fresh ramps (wild leeks) harvested the day after the fish was caught. Usually I like citrus with fish, but I didn’t have any. I thought about going back out to the grocery store until it dawned on me that I could use my sort-of-homemade juniper-pine vinegar, which tastes very much like grapefruit!

It’s more than a year old now, which is pretty cool. I just stuffed an old glass milk jug with juniper branches, berries, and some pine branches, then poured regular cheapo white vinegar over it. Then I let it sit for a year.

It. Is. GLORIOUS.

I thought quinoa would be cool with the fish, a nice contrast with the flaky fish. It was! The carrot and celery add a nice crunch, and the ramps add that mysterious delicious onion flavor of the woods. There were some ramps growing near the stream where the fish was caught, and if it grows together, it goes together.

Here’s what I did:

  • Cook quinoa in rice cooker with some salr
  • Sautee 1 carrot (diced), 10 ramps (bottom parts, sliced), 1 stick of celery (sliced) in some olive oil with generous salt and pepper
  • After a few minutes, add the 10 ramp tops (the green parts, julienned). They will shrink considerably. Be sure to cut thinly because they can be a bit chewy sometimes
  • Add a splash of juniper vinegar, then transfer to quinoa and mix
  • In a hot, lightly oiled cast iron skilled, cook the trout for a few minutes on each side. Don’t cook too long!
  • Remove the trout and place on top of a pile of quinoa. Pour some juniper vinegar in the pan and add a bit of butter. Cook it down for about a minute, then spoon some on the fish
  • Eat!


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