Sea trout with Earl Grey pickled cucumber

Hollandaise is a classic accompaniment to sea trout, but Valentine Warner adds a perky twist with mint and a teabag
By Valentine Warner
Sea trout with Earl Grey pickled cucumber
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 2
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes plus standing time
  • Effort: easy


  • 2 sea trout fillets, skin on

For the pickled cucumber

  • 1 cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 heaped tbsp rock salt
  • 4 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 pinches caster sugar
  • 1 Earl Grey tea bag
  • 5 mint leaf

For the hollandaise sauce

  • 200 g unsalted butter, cut into 6 chunks
  • 75 ml white wine vinegar
  • 1 shallot, finely sliced
  • 5 black peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 lemon, juice only

Tips and Suggestions

Feel free to use rainbow trout in place of sea trout in this recipe. Salmon would also be suitable.


1. For the pickled cucumber: put the sliced cucumber in a bowl, sprinkle with the rock salt and leave for 30 minutes to draw out the bitter juices.

2. Tip the cucumber into a colander and squeeze out all the juices, wringing the cucumber like a bath flannel. Put the cucumber in a clean bowl.

3. Put the vinegar in a small saucepan. Add the sugar and teabag and heat gently, stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves. After 45 seconds, squeeze and remove the tea bag. Let the mixture cool a little.

4. Pour the flavoured vinegar over the cucumber, stir and set aside to infuse.

5. For the hollandaise sauce: clarify the butter by melting it slowly in a heavy saucepan over a low heat. Bring to a low simmer and, once all the foam has risen to the surface, remove the pan from the heat and skim off the foam with a spoon. Pour the liquid butter through a muslin-lined sieve into a jug. Keep warm.

6. Combine the vinegar, shallot, peppercorns and bay leaf in a small saucepan, place over a high heat and bring to the boil. Simmer for 1-2 minutes, or until the volume of liquid has reduced to about 1½ tablespoons.

7. Fill a medium saucepan one-third with water and heat until simmering. Put the egg yolks in a large heatproof bowl and place over the simmering water. Pour the flavoured vinegar through a sieve into the bowl of yolks and whisk together until pale, thick and glossy.

8. Gradually add the clarified butter in a steady stream, whisking constantly until the sauce is smooth, thick and shiny. To prevent the sauce splitting you may need to lift the bowl from the heat every now and then. Add a pinch of salt and the lemon juice and whisk again. Set aside while you cook the sea trout.

9. Heat some water in a steamer until simmering. Place the fish skin-side up in the steamer and cook for 6 minutes ' this will leave the very middle of the fish slightly raw, thus avoiding overcooking, but by the time you have plated the dish it will be cooked through perfectly.

10. Meanwhile, take roll the mint leaves into a cigar shape and slice them finely. Drain the cucumber, squeezing the liquid out as before. Add the mint and mix through. Spoon the cucumber on to the serving plates.

11. Remove the trout from the steamer and gently pull off the flaccid skin. Place the trout on top of the cucumber and season with a pinch of sea salt and some white pepper. Add a large dollop of hollandaise and serve immediately.

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