Breakfast Main Dishes

Polenta trout cake with tangy green pepper sauce

There are two sides when it comes to leftovers. You either cower away from the casserole your mom made three days ago as if green gas is billowing out of it, or you stand in front of the fridge stuffing fork fulls of cold spaghetti in your pie hole. If you land on the latter end of the spectrum, this post is for you.

My brother (and I) happen to be on Team Leftover. He more like runs the team—nothing goes to waste in our house. One time he used leftover garlic bread to make a crust for some sort of German sauerkraut pie that also incorporated leftover pasta. Not to mention he makes bread pudding out of any stale carb under the sun. It’s pretty impressive, actually.

And, y’all know how much I love breakfast, so when Stephen (my bro) came up with a dish to use up our leftover trout and polenta that included eggs, I was down. I know it’s highly unlikely you will have both leftover polenta and trout on hand, so I will let you in on how we made ours in the Instruction section below.

This leftover revamp is out of bounds (and all other Guy Fieri jargon). The cakes are rich from the creamy polenta, with a subtle smokiness from the fish, that pair really well with the tanginess from the mustard in the green pepper sauce. Of course this dish can be made sans egg, but I wouldn’t recommend it because yolk porn. The cakes are pretty hearty and filling, so bring an appetite for this one!

Enjoy.

Ingredients

For the polenta (if you don’t have leftovers)

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 4-6 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • salt and pepper

For the trout (if you don’t have leftovers)

  • wild trout filet, skin on
  • chipotle powder
  • paprika
  • granulated garlic
  • creole seasoning

For the cakes

  • polenta, leftover or made fresh and cooled
  • trout, cooked
  • chipotle powder
  • paprika
  • white pepper
  • butter (for frying)
  • olive oil (for frying)
  • salt and pepper
  • egg (optional)

For the sauce

  • 1/2 large green pepper, sliced
  • 1/4 red onion, sliced
  • 1/4 whole milk
  • 1-2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2-3/4 cup chicken stock (depending on desired consistency)
  • 1 tbsp mustard
  • granulated garlic
  • fresh herbs (basil, mint, thyme or anything you have on hand)
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

Skip to third paragraph if you already have leftover polenta and trout.

If you need to make polenta, bring milk and stock to a boil. Gradually whisk polenta in and reduce heat to low. Cook for 20-25 mins, stirring every couple of minutes until consistency is thick and creamy. Remove from heat and stir in cheese little by little, until completely melted. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

If you need to make the trout, season fish with chipotle powder, paprika, garlic, and creole seasoning. Drizzle with a little olive oil and grill, skin-side down, on a fairly hot grill until translucent, or just cooked though. DO NOT FLIP. It’s okay if the skin gets a little burnt because it’s acting as a barrier from the direct heat, protecting the meat from charring, while keeping the fish moist.

Once you have polenta and trout, start by making the green pepper sauce. Sauté peppers and onions in olive oil. After a few minutes add butter, milk, mustard, and granulated garlic. Add fresh herbs and season with salt and pepper. When veggies are soft and cooked through, move to blender (or bowl if using immersion blender) and liquify until consistency is similar to whole milk—add more milk if too thick. Return to pan and keep over very low heat until ready to serve.

Take leftover polenta and break it apart so it’s more pliable. Break up trout into good size chunks and add to polenta. Season mixture with white pepper, chipotle, paprika, and salt and pepper. Heat olive oil and butter over medium heat until butter turns toasty brown. Form polenta/trout mixture into patties the size of a thick burger. Fry patties until brown and crusty on each side. While patties are frying, cook eggs as desired in a separate pan.

Plate patties with (or without) an egg and the green pepper sauce. Serve with a side of mixed greens lightly dressed with olive oil and vinegar.

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