Diary of a Foodie

Trout Empapelado

Diary of a Foodie: Season Three: The Collective

  • Active time:15 min
  • Start to finish:45 min
March 2009
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  • 2 cups chopped tomato (about 1 lb)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 fresh jalapeño, minced, including seeds
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 large or 8 medium fresh hoja santa leaves (see cooks’ note, below)
  • 4 (7- to 9-oz) whole cleaned trout (with head and tail)
  • 1 lime, halved
  • Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in middle.
  • Stir together tomato, onion, cilantro, jalapeño, and 1/2 tsp salt. Put a sheet of foil 2 inches longer than trout on a work surface and brush with some of butter, leaving a 2-inch border all around. Arrange 1 large or 2 medium hoja santa leaves on buttered foil and top with 1 trout. Season outside of trout with salt. Season inside of trout with salt and pepper and rub with a lime half.
  • Fill trout cavity with one fourth of tomato mixture. Fold foil and hoja santa leaves over trout to enclose and crimp edges of foil to seal.
  • Repeat with remaining trout.
  • Bake foil packages on a large baking sheet until fish is just cooked through, 20 to 30 minutes.
Cooks’ note: In place of hoja santa leaves, you can use 4 tsp fennel seeds, toasted (see Tips) and cooled, then coarsely ground in an electric coffee/spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle. Put trout on buttered foil and sprinkle each with 1 tsp ground fennel seeds and 1/8 tsp salt.
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