Traditionally, choucroute au poisson was a dish made in Alsatian riverside villages, but today restaurants throughout Alsace serve a version in which filets of flaky, white-fleshed fish such as pike perch are pan-fried or poached and served on a bed of choucroute and topped with a creamy riesling sauce. We found that trout works beautifully, too.
- 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 (¼-lb.) piece smoked bacon, cut into ½" cubes
- 4 shallots, finely chopped
- 1 tsp. finely chopped thyme leaves
- ½ tsp. cumin seeds
- 2 pods star anise
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ lb. raw Sauerkraut, drained and rinsed
- 1¼ cups white wine, preferably dry riesling
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 (6-8-oz.) boneless skin-on trout filets
- ¼ cups flour, sifted
- 4 tbsp. unsalted butter
- ½ cups heavy cream
- Chervil leaves, for garnish (optional)
Heat 1 tbsp. oil in a 10" skillet over medium-high heat. Add bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and crisp, about 8 minutes. Pour off all but 1 tbsp. fat. Reduce heat to medium and add half the shallots along with the thyme, cumin, star anise, and bay leaf and cook, stirring occasionally, until shallots are soft, about 4 minutes. Stir in the sauerkraut, ½ cup wine, and ⅓ cup water and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover skillet, reduce heat to low, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauerkraut softens and the flavors meld, about 25 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and set aside; discard bay leaf and star anise. Keep warm.
Season trout filets with salt and pepper. Put flour on a plate and dredge trout in flour, shaking off excess. Heat remaining oil in a 12" nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until almost smoking. Add trout skin side down and cook, flipping once, until golden brown and cooked through, 4-6 minutes. Transfer trout to a plate and loosely cover with foil. Return skillet to medium-high heat and add 2 tbsp. butter and remaining shallots. Cook until shallots are soft, about 4 minutes. Remove skillet from heat, pour in remaining wine, and cook until wine is almost evaporated, about 4 minutes. Add heavy cream and cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, remove from heat, and stir in remaining butter. To serve, divide sauerkraut between 2 plates and top each with trout. Spoon sauce around fish and garnish with chervil.