28 April 2013

Inspired by Soto Maior

While I was getting salmon fillets for our lovely dinner the other day, I also spotted some very nice looking rainbow trout.


My plan was to do it en croute with wild mushrooms, but I decided to look through my recipe collection for inspiration and a good thing too, I found it in a booklet advert for some brand of cooking oil from 1993. The original recipe is for zander à la Soto Maior, but it calls for deep frying it, so I decided to just use the marinating part. The recipe said minimum 2 h of marinating, another recipe stated at least 4, so I decided to let the fish marinate overnight.


150 g finely chopped shallots
2 finely sliced lemons, pips removed
600 g rainbow trout fillets
2.5 dl grapeseed oil
500 g piece of puff pastry
a handful of coarsely cut flat leaf parsley
1 egg yolk
3 dl single cream
4 dl parboiled girolles
salt and pepper to taste


  1. Prepare the shallots and the lemons, then remove the skin from the trout fillets and check for any bones. Remove these with tweezers. Cut the fillets into 4 or even 6 pieces.
  2. Place a third of the shallots at the bottom of a glass dish, then place some of the fish and some of the lemon slices. Repeat the layering, finishing with a layer of lemons.
  3. Pour over the grapeseed oil (actually any flavourless cooking oil will do). Cover with cling film and put in the fridge.
  4. When ready to complete the dish, pre-heat the oven to 220 degrees C (gas mark 7). Also place a thick-bottomed baking sheet upside-down in the oven to heat up as well.
  5. Roll out the pastry to about 0.5 cm thickness and cut in two, one piece a little larger than the other.
  6. Take the pieces of fish out from the marinade and pat dry with kitchen towels, it's OK if some of the shallot pieces remain on them.
  7. Arrange them on the smaller piece of puff pastry, leaving about a cm around the edge clear. Sprinkle the parsley over the fish.
  8. Brush the clear edge with a little egg yolk, then place the larger piece of puff pastry on top and gently press around the edges to make it stick. Use the remainder of the yolk to brush on the top of the puff pastry. Make a few holes to allow steam to come out.
  9. Bake until the puff pastry has risen well and turned a nice dark golden brown.

Soto Maior or vicount António de Soto Maior da Cunha was the Portugese ambassador to Sweden starting in 1856, who remained in Sweden until his death in 1894. According to the Swedish wikipedia, he was a very colourful personality, who was also very interested in food and the recipe for zander à la Soto Maior is part of his legacy.

A quick google search showed some variations of the original dish, but the key parts - zander, marinade, deep fried and accompanied by mushrooms stewed in cream are all there.

After marinating the fish overnight, some of the pieces had gone pale pink and looked a little like gravad lax. Actually I only had just under half of the amount, so we ended up with a rather thin pie. Also, I didn't let it bake for long enough, so the bottom puff pastry was undercooked and soggy. Perhaps I should have rolled it even thinner, but as it was, I ended up with quite a lot to spare. I wrapped it tightly in cling film and put back in the fridge, hopefully I'll get an idea what to do with it over the next couple of days.

Lundulph really liked this one and I agree, it was indeed tasty, though I think the onions were a bit over-powering, I'll reduce them for next time, but I'm quite pleased with the end result.

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