Red Trout with Fennel Mayonnaise
* 175 g (6 oz) butter, softened
* 1 teaspoon lemon juice
* 4 red trout, about 250 g (8 oz) cleaned weight, heads and tails left on
* dried fennel stalks, for cooking
* lemon wedges, to garnish
* 3 egg yolks
* finely ground sea salt
* 300 ml (1/2 pint) olive oil, at room temperature
* 1-2 teaspoons tarragon vinegar
* 1 small bulb fresh fennel
1. To make the fennel mayonnaise, beat the egg yolks thoroughly in a large bowl, then add a generous pinch of sea salt and beat again.
2. Pour the oil into a measuring jug. Add a few drops of oil to the beaten egg yolks, whisking constantly, and then add a few more drops, still whisking. After about one-third of the oil has been added in this way, start pouring in the oil in a thin stream but avoid adding too much at one time or the eggs will not absorb it. By the time all the oil is added, a thick, yellow consistency will result.
3. Add 1/2 teaspoon vinegar and beat well, then whisk in another 1/2 teaspoon. Taste the mayonnaise and, if necessary, gradually add up to another teaspoon vinegar.
4. Trim the hard stalks and feathery leaves from the fennel bulb. Finely chop the feathery leaves and reserve. Either finely slice the fennel bulb in a food processor or grate it coarsely into a bowl, then fold into the mayonnaise. Season with black pepper, then cover the bowl with clingfilm and chill.
5. Mash the butter together with the lemon juice and freshly ground black pepper. Pat the fish dry with kitchen paper, then put 1 teaspoon of the butter inside each fish and close the cavity, securing it with a toothpick or wooden cocktail stick. Spread each fish on both sides with the rest of the butter and place in a hinged grill.
6. Douse the dried fennel stalks with cold water, then place on the barbecue coals. Cook the fish on the oiled grid of the preheated barbecue for 7 minutes on each side, then serve with the mayonnaise handed round separately, garnishing the mayonnaise with some of the reserved fennel leaves. Garnish the fish with the remaining leaves and lemon wedges just before serving.