yields four servings
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 ounces slab bacon, diced
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped fennel bulb
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/3 cups panko
1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage
juice and zest of 1 lemon, plus a second lemon
salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 small fresh trout, each about 3/4 pound, boned but left whole
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a heavy skillet, add bacon, and saute over medium heat until it starts to brown. Add onion, fennel and garlic, and continue to saute until vegetables are golden. Stir in all but 2 tablespoons panko. Continue to saute until panko is golden brown. Stir in the parsley and sage, and grate in the zest of one lemon. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and remove from heat.
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking pan with foil, brush with 1/2 tablespoon of remaining oil and scatter remaining panko into pan.
Rinse and dry the fish. Sprinkle the insides with the juice of half the zested lemon, then season with salt and pepper. Fill each fish with the bacon and panko mixture, reserving a couple of tablespoons. Fold the fish over to enclose the stuffing. Skewer the sides of the opening together if you wish. Place the fish in the pan, brush with the remaining oil and lemon juice, and scatter the remaining panko mixture over.
Place in oven and bake 15 minutes.
Remove fish from pan and serve, with wedges of the remaining lemon.
bacon recipe courtesy of: Florence Fabricant, "From Japan, the Secret of Crunchy Coating," The New York Times, December 30, 1998