I love kids, and in the business, I get an opportunity to meet a lot of them. Sure, there are a few problem kids of the unrolling-all-the-toilet-paper-in-the-mens-room-and-stuffing-it-down-the-toilet variety, but the majority are just a joy to be around. Like Ritchie & John who recently brought me a big bag of my favorite candy -- Nerds. (You are what you eat and all that.) Or my new buddies from out of town whose mom wishes them to remain anonymous because they taught me how to make disgusting sounds by blowing into my armpit through a drinking straw.
When you're making food for kids -- particularly young kids and usually when it's food that they might not be familiar with -- presentation can be everything. If the kids don't feel comfortable, they're more likely to reject a new experience. If they're distracted or entertained, they may eat enough to find out they love it before they remember to protest.
So I thought it would be a great idea to stick in a feature that will help keep my younger guests entertained. With that in mind, we set up a 75-gallon fish tank which, when complete, will feature a garden of live plants, colorful fish, and natural stone. I might even add some live bearing fish so the kids can watch the offspring grow during their visits. The only thing unnatural in this new aquarium is a Creature From The Black Lagoon aerator, possibly because I'm too much of a kid myself not to put something goofy in there.
Weve had a great response to the new tank even though its virtually empty, save for a few small plants, some small schooling zebra danios and, of course, The Creature. Kids are excited by it, but adults tend to find watching the fish more of a relaxing experience. Some even find it bringing back memories.
My assistant Joe reminisced about how his Dad had all this high-tech fishing equipment. He would wake in the wee-hours of the morning to be the watery equivalent of the early bird down at Minerva Lake, but for some reason could never compete with his daughter, Jadee. Jadee would go out on the lake at her leisure with her homemade pole and fake rubber worms and meet the afternoon with a string full of freshly caught trout. You might think that Joe's dad would be annoyed at his little girl for beating his fancy lures with rubber worms, but come dinnertime he was too busy happily eating grilled trout to work up any ire.
So on that note, Id like to share a fish story of my one. It's a little tale I like to call Grilled Trout with black truffles. Now you might have some trouble finding black truffles, but if your favorite supermarket doesnt carry them you can readily order them online. Its worth the trouble.
Grilled Trout With Black Truffles
6 whole, cleaned trout with the head and tail left on
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
35 sprigs flat Italian parsley
Juice from 2 lemons
1 cup homemade unseasoned breadcrumbs
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 ounces fresh or canned black truffle
lemon wedges to serve on the side
Preheat your barbeque grill. Soak the cleaned trout in a bowl of cold water with the vinegar.
Finely chop the parsley and mix in a bowl with the breadcrumbs and the lemon juice. Add the olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Drain the trout and pat dry with paper towels. Stuff each trout with one sixth of the stuffing.
Bake the trout on your grill (alternatively, you can use a 375 degree oven) for about ten to fifteen minutes, you want a charcoal finish, but try not to overcook the meat. It should be moist and juicy. In the meantime, finely chop the black truffle.
Transfer your trout to a warm serving platter and place a sixth of the chopped black truffle into each cavity atop the stuffing. Serve immediately.