It is hard to say what comes first here. The Triggerfish (massively delicious in its own right) or the Sauce (a spot of creamy elegance in an otherwise mundane world)? You can decide.
The fish itself is something of a rare treat for recreational anglers what with restrictive bag limits and short catch seasons. When you get them, they are to be prized. The Triggerfish has a firm, white, sweet flesh that lends itself to a wide range of culinary paths. This recipe takes the simple approach. Pan fry and pair with a sauce that drives the flavor of the dish.
Triggerfish – 1 or 2 fillets
Flour – 1/2 Cup
Leons Cajun Seasoning – 1 Tbsp
White Pepper – 1/2 Tsp
Bread Crumbs – 1/2 Cup
Egg – 1
Milk – Splash
Butter – 2Tbsp
Oil – Enough to cover bottom of skillet to 1/4 inch
Butter – 2Tbsp
Leeks – 1-2 depending on size
Dill – 1 Tsp
Heavy Cream – 1/2 – 1/3 Cup depending on desired thickness
Lemon Zest – Enough
Creating The Creamy Leek Sauce
Gather up the basic ingredients for the sauce (butter is already in the pan……
Slice the leeks thin starting at the white ends and stopping as the light green begins to go to dark. The darker green portions of the leek will add a bitter aftertaste if used.
Melt your butter and saute the leeks over medium low heat for 4-5 minutes. Add the dill at this stage.
Add heavy cream and lemon zest, simmering & whisking to get the desired thickness. The lemon zest is the secret ingredient in this sauce. It sets the tone for the entire dish. If you are feeling particularly adventurous, try a pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg. Only a pinch, though. Too much of either one will dramatically alter the taste profile.
Pan Frying The Triggerfish
We were fortunate to lay hands on some awesome Triggerfish fillets, courtesy of Tim Nachman at Nachman’s Native Seafood – Reddington Beach, FL. Tim took all the work out of this filleting the Triggerfish for us. As tasty as this species is, it can present a filleting challenge to the first timer.
The breading is very straightforward. The key here is not to over complicate it with too many or too strong spices. Nice & easy. Give the sauce room to do its work later.
Melt the butter in the oil over medium heat. Pan fry the Triggerfish approximately 2-3 minutes per side. Adjust time based on thickness. Don;t over cook!
Remove the fish from the pan, blot the oil and butter and lay on the sauce. This is one dish you won’t have leftovers to worry over….
The Trigger fish works well with a range of sides. For our meal we went with asparagus (the Sauce is great with the this) and herbed mash potatoes. As with the earlier caution about the seasoning on the fish, keep things simple with the sides so as not to overwhelm the flavor of the sauce.
Enjoy and tight lines.