Trout* and Vegetable Bubble Tea
By Paul Rogalski - Rouge, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Serves 8

Ingredients for the trout tea:
3 lbs. raw trout bones and heads, rinsed under cold water
2 T unsalted butter
2 medium onions, medium diced
4 stalks celery, medium diced
1 medium fennel bulb, medium diced
1 leek white, cut lengthwise, washed, medium diced
2 T ginger, finely chopped
1 lemongrass, cleaned, thinly sliced
1/4 C fresh flat-leaf parsley, leaves and stems, roughly chopped
6 branches fresh thyme
2 T black peppercorns
1/2 C white wine
2ñ1/2 qts. very cold water
1 t sea salt

Melt butter in heavy 7- to 8-quart stockpot over medium heat. Add vegetables, lemongrass, parsley, thyme, ginger and peppercorns. Cook until vegetables become transparent. Stir frequently to avoid browning.

Place trout evenly on top of vegetables. Add salt, wine and enough water to just cover bones.

Bring stock to a simmer over high heat. Reduce heat to low as soon as a soft simmer has been achieved. With a soft touch, remove foam and continue cooking for 30 minutes. Do not disturb stock by stirring or shaking or it may become cloudy.

Carefully siphon or strain stock through a very fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth into another stockpot or heatproof container. Agitate bones as little as possible. Season to taste. Use immediately for best aromatics. Alternatively, place strained stock in an ice bath until temperature reaches 40∞ F. Refrigerate for further use.

Ingredients for the vegetable bubbles:
Note: (It is best to make this in advance).

1 C bell pepper juice, seasoned to taste
1 heaping t agar powder
1 C cucumber juice, seasoned to taste
1 heaping t agar powder
4 qts. canola oil, chilled in deep freeze to -15 F
1/4 C freshly shelled pea pearls

Soften agar in 3 tablespoons room-temperature bell pepper juice. Heat 1/2 cup of bell pepper juice to a simmer. Pour agar in simmering bell pepper juice, dissolve completely and return to a simmer; immediately remove from heat.

Add remaining room-temperature bell pepper juice and stir until smooth. Using a large syringe, gather the mixture and slowly drip into frozen canola oil, allowing pearls to form. Continue until mixture is finished.

Harvest pearls with a wire mesh scoop and rinse with cold water. Refrigerate for future use. Refreeze canola oil and repeat method with cucumber juice.

To Serve:
Organize serving glasses or teacups and evenly distribute vegetable bubbles amongst them. Simmer trout tea, add shelled peas and cook for 1 minute; remove peas and divide into serving glasses. Carefully top glasses with the trout tea and serve immediately.

*Seafood Watch: recommends farmed rainbow trout from the U.S.

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