A weekend back home would not be complete without a home-cooked meal and a side of strong Armenian opinions. “This is the best fish I’ve had in years!” my mom exclaimed as she unwrapped orange-fleshed fillets from their white parchment paper on the kitchen counter, my dad nodding quietly in agreement.

My parents recently discovered a new fish at their local fresh produce market called ruby trout, and they couldn’t wait to share it with me. Wild caught from the rivers of Canada, the fish was indeed delectable — flavorful yet much less oily than its relative the salmon. In fact, it was so fresh you could taste the freshwater in it and imagine you were on the banks of a lazy meandering river in British Columbia enjoying the catch of the day. It was perfect for a light spring dinner.

After sprinkling sea salt and cracked black pepper over the fillets, we broiled them for 8 minutes, until they were slightly crispy on the edges. It doesn’t get any easier than that. We decided to serve it with fettuccine coated in a pesto made with avocado and arugula instead of the traditional basil and pine nuts combination. Paired with a light, crisp white wine (I recommend a Chateau Ste. Michelle Riesling from Washington State), we treated ourselves to the first seafood dish of the season.

I must admit the fish did in fact live up to the parental hype. So glad we discovered another sustainable seafood option we could add to our repertoire for either family nights in or for impressing guests.

Note: The wide variety of market names for seafood can sometimes make shopping for sustainable seafood confusing. Ruby trout is a market name that is often used for varieties of rainbow trout. Farmed rainbow trout from the United States is a Right Bite “best choice” and can be substituted in this recipe.

4 ruby trout fillets (approximately 8 servings)
Sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste
Lime wedges for serving

Pasta and sauce
1 pound fettuccine pasta
3 tablespoons safflower oil
2 medium avocados, spooned out
4 cups baby arugula leaves
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup grated Asiago cheese (can replace with Parmigiano-Reggiano or other shredded drier cheese)
1/2 cup finely chopped or sliced almonds, toasted

Toast nuts by arranging them in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for about 5 to 7 minutes in 350° over. Set aside.

Boil the fettuccine using a bit of salt and the safflower oil to prevent sticking. Once cooked, drain all but 1 cup of the pasta water. Set aside.

Saving a few pinches of cheese for later, place all the remaining pasta ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.

Pour the sauce over the pasta and toss together. Add the remaining cheese and almonds and toss together until coated, adding the pasta water, as needed, to loosen the sauce.

Serve with a light white wine. Drizzle fresh lime juice over the fish before serving.

Nayiri Haroutunian, Shedd Foodie Corps