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Kentucky Derby Recipe: Bourbon-Cured Trout

Cooking a traditional Southern dish of bourbon-cured fish for your Derby Day bash is a cinch. Just follow this recipe from Brooke Parkhurst (A Belle in the Big Apple) and James Briscione (two-time champion of the Food Network’s Chopped), authors of Just Married and Cooking: 200 Recipes for Living, Eating, and Entertaining Together.

Serves 6 to 8

4 pan-dressed trout, or 8 boneless fillets
3 cups water
1 cup bourbon
1 cup kosher salt
1 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 bay leaf
4 cups ice cubes

Quickly rinse the trout under cold water and pat dry. Place in the refrigerator, uncovered, while preparing the brine.

Combine the water, bourbon, salt, sugar, peppercorns, garlic, and bay leaf in a medium saucepot. Bring the mixture to a boil so that the salt and sugar dissolve. Remove from the heat and stir in the ice. Cool the mixture completely and pour over the trout. Leave the trout to brine in the refrigerator for 4 to 6 hours.

Remove the trout from the brine and pat dry. Grill or broil skin side down for 3 to 5 minutes, until just cooked through. If cooking whole fish, turn once halfway through the cooking process.

The Next Level
Make your grilled trout into a killer crostini. To build this perfect bite, start with a toasted round of baguette, add a dollop of sour cream and then a cucumber slice. Rest a small piece of grilled trout on the cucumber and finish with a sprig of dill or a single parsley leaf.

James Briscione worked in the kitchens at Highlands Bar and Grill in Birmingham, Ala., and later with chef Daniel Boulud in New York City. He was the first two-time winner of the Food Network’s competition Chopped and together with his wife, food writer Brooke Parkhurst, James teaches couples cooking classes at the Institute of Culinary Education and The Culinary Cooperative in New York. Brooke and James’ first cookbook, Just Married and Cooking: 200 Recipes for Living, Eating, and Entertaining Together, was released in May.


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