Mountain trout stuffed with ramps

Allium love: Washed ramps, cut from the stem — the sustainable way. Photo by Mark Rosenstein
Allium love: Washed ramps, cut from the stem — the sustainable way. Photo by Mark Rosenstein

(serves four)

4 whole, small fresh trout, de-boned
2 tbsp bacon fat or olive oil
1 good handful of fresh ramps, cleaned, cut into 1-inch pieces (reserve some of the green tops for cooking with potatoes)
4 handfuls dandelion greens, stems picked, cleaned
2 cups of cooked corn grits, fairly soft
salt, pepper
2 more tbsp of rendered bacon fat or olive oil

De-bone the whole trout if necessary, leaving them whole. Season the cavity with salt and pepper. In a heavy iron skillet (select a skillet large enough to hold all four trout), heat the first 2 tablespoons of fat over medium heat. Cook the ramps until lightly browned. Add the dandelion greens and cook until they are wilted and all the water evaporates. Season with salt and pepper. Add the soft corn grits to the mixture, mix well and heat through. Remove from the heat.

Divide the mixture into four parts and stuff the trout. Reshape the fish. Wipe out the skillet. Over medium heat, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of fat. Add the trout and cook on the first side, about 4 minutes, until the skin is crispy. Turn over and cook on the second side until brown and crispy. Place the trout on four heated dinner plates. Wipe out the iron skillet, add a healthy knob of butter. Cook until the butter just begins to brown. Add a dash of vinegar (or lemon juice) and pour over the fish.

Serve with some very crispy hash browns, seasoned with the cut up green tops of the ramps.

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