Baked Trout With Almonds and Ginger Butter is a fabulous fish dish that we regularly enjoy. It’s economical, it’s delicious, it’s quick and simple to cook and it’s… full of fat.
Not a problem when you’re already experiencing the health-restorative benefits of a Primal ketogenic diet, but probably concerning for people who still believe conventional wisdom telling them to stay away from fat, particularly saturated fat, because it clogs up your arteries and contains cholesterol that will kill you!
The consumption of saturated fat and cholesterol foods does not raise blood cholesterol and trigger the heart disease process. In fact, the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans state: “dietary cholesterol is no longer a nutrient of concern”. Shame that since the early 1960’s, the medical establishment, government and food industry have been indoctrinating people with the idea that vegetable oils are good and butter is bad. I honestly believe that if my father hadn’t been told by his doctor to ditch butter and lard and use Flora margarine and Mazola corn oil instead, he might not have suffered the stroke that disabled him in his early fifties, and a further stroke that killed him when he was just 57 years old.
Finally, the tide is beginning to turn; the flawed diet-heart hypothesis is being rejected and the health conscious already know that low-fat diet advice is dead. Not that food processing giants, grain producers, many diet ‘experts’ and hitherto well-respected doctors are about to change their minds. They still postulate that a lower intake of fat, a move away from saturated fat or an increase in PUFAs (polyunsaturated fatty acids), is best diet advice. With the exception of omega-3 fatty acids, nothing could be further from the truth.
Saturated fat and dietary cholesterol are not your enemy. The real risk factors for heart disease are oxidation and inflammation in the blood stream, which is caused by poor dietary and lifestyle choices. One of the most pernicious dietary causes of systemic inflammation and oxidation is the consumption of highly unstable, highly inflammatory, highly processed and refined vegetable oils - notably sunflower, corn, soybean, cottonseed, rapeseed (canola), safflower and peanut and the margarines, shortenings and spreads that contain them.
Vegetable oils are divided into two types: omega-6 and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). Omega-6 essential fatty acids are pro-inflammatory - they not only fuel inflammation throughout the body but also reduce the availability of omega-3s, resulting in more inflammation. Omega-3 essential fatty acids are widely accepted as anti-inflammatory.
Both omega-6 and omega-3s are called “essential” fatty acids because they can’t be made in the body and so must be obtained from food.
Whilst both are “essential” nutrients, you don’t need a lot of either and they need to be consumed in the right ratio of omega-6s to omega-3s; thought to be 4:1. This doesn’t happen in the modern diet - most people massively over-consume omega-6 fatty acids and under-consume omega-3s.
One of the most helpful analogies I’ve found compares these vital nutrients to hot and cold water taps. Omega-6 is the water coming from the hot tap (pro-inflammatory) and omega-3 the water from the cold tap (anti-inflammatory). Since you neither want your water too hot or too cold, you need just the correct mix of water from both taps to get the temperature just right.
When the water gets too hot (too much pro-inflammatory omega-6) the best remedy is to reduce the amount of water coming from the hot tap rather than adding more cold water (anti-inflammatory omega-3s) because excess consumption of polyunsaturates per se has been shown to contribute to a large number of diseases including increased cancer and heart disease; immune system dysfunction; damage to the liver, reproductive organs and lungs; digestive disorders; depressed learning ability; impaired growth; and weight gain.
So what of the cheap, clear, tasteless, vegetable oils found in clear plastic bottles on every supermarket shelf that for decades many health “experts” have urged us to eat? In contrast to the much maligned, saturated, nutrient-rich, natural fats found in butter, lard, tallow, dripping and coconut oil, which we traditionally ate and cooked with up until the 1900’s, PUFAs are extremely unstable and easily damaged when exposed to heat, light and oxygen. Thus, you should never cook with them. One reason the newfangled, so-called “vegetable” oils (actually they’re seed oils) are so injurious to health is because they’re subjected to insane amounts of toxic chemicals and immense amounts of heat during processing and refining, which causes them to oxidise and go rancid.
Rancidity causes lots of free radical damage that wreaks havoc in your body. Free radicals are renegade molecules that attack cell membranes and red blood cells and damage your DNA, triggering mutations in tissue, blood vessels, organs and skin (hello premature ageing and wrinkles!) plus a host of diseases from liver damage, to heart disease, to cancer.
If that wasn’t bad enough, most of these industrial oils are made from genetically engineered crops; are contaminated with glyphosate and residues of chemical solvents (hexane is a neurotoxin commonly used to extract seed oils); have most of their protective antioxidants removed; and are loaded with damaged omega-6 fatty acids. The oxidised oil further degrades inside its plastic bottle from continued exposure to light and from heat applied during cooking - particularly the repeated re-heating of the same batch of cooking oil, as is common in the food industry.
The single most important thing you can do for health is to avoid refined vegetable oils and all processed food that contains them e.g. salad dressings, baked goods, fast food, French fries and processed snacks such as nuts, popcorn and crisps. Whilst you’ll struggle with most restaurant food and takeaways, at least you don’t have to opt for cheap heat/chemical-extracted oils when you’re cooking and eating at home.
Ignore the Diet Dictocrats and media nonsense that would still have you believe that saturated fat and cholesterol is bad for you and that low-fat and vegetable oils are good. Grass-fed butter is one of the healthiest foods known to man, which you can read about in Weston A Price’s article Why Butter Is Better.
Don’t let the nay-sayers cause you to throw the baby out with the bath water. Start enjoying plenty of natural fat (without sugar, of course!) to help your body absorb nutrients, maximise metabolism and maintain optimal nerve, brain and heart function. This should be music to your ears if you’re trying to lose weight and stay trim. The main reason why high-fat, low carb diets, like the keto diet, are so effective for weight loss is because they help you eat fewer calories without noticing. Delicious LCHF (low-carb, high-fat) recipes such as Baked Trout With Almonds and Ginger Butter are fundamental to burning stored body fat as fuel for energy, while preserving all the pleasure of eating. For a list of fabulous fats Primal Plate recommends, please refer to Notes below.
The tastiest, freshest and easiest way to get two of the three omega-3 fatty acids (EPA & DHA) into your diet is to eat more oily fish like rainbow trout, mackerel, salmon and sardines, twice per week.
A cooked serving of rainbow trout is one of the richest sources of omega-3 fatty acids and also provides two days worth of B12 - essential for healthy nerves, blood cells and DNA - as well as calcium, potassium and selenium. Looks like I’m on a roll with today’s recipe!
The rainbow trout that I always purchase from Abel &Cole, have bright eyes and beautiful, glistening, silvery skins flanked with shimmering streaks of blue, pink and purple that lives up to their name. Far more economical than organic or wild salmon and available all year round, they are a great choice for dinner because they’re raised in an ecologically responsible way, they’re generously sized and as ‘fishy-on-a-dishy’ recipes go, they don’t get more enjoyable than a soft mouthful of delicate, pretty pink trout flesh happily paired with the buttery crunch of golden almonds and fiery fresh ginger juice.
Totally satisfying, totally yum, this dish contains nothing but good fats that are needed to protect your heart and brain and soothe inflammation from the inside out. Bye-bye eczema, allergies and brain fog. Hello health and happiness.
Baked Trout With Almonds and Ginger Butter (serves 4)
125g organic salted butter
4 whole rainbow trout, cleaned and prepped (see Instructions below)
75g fresh organic root ginger, finely grated
100g organic flaked almonds (also, Sainsbury’s SO Organic flaked almonds @ £1.95 for 100g)
Pre-heat the oven to 180℃ / 350℉ /Gas mark 4. Warm 4 large flat serving plates.
Line a large baking tray or oven grill pan with non-stick tin foil. Gently melt 25g of the butter in a small saucepan and with a pastry brush or piece of kitchen paper use some of it to lightly grease the non-stick foil.
Brush more melted butter inside each trout before seasoning with salt and pepper. Then use the rest of the butter to brush over both sides of the fish before seasoning with more salt and freshly ground pepper and laying them down on the foil-lined tray.
Place the tray on the top shelf of the pre-heated oven and bake the trout for 8 minutes.
Turn the oven grill to high and grill for a further 4 minutes.
While the trout are cooking, squeeze the grated ginger over a small bowl to extract the juice. You should have about 3 tablespoons.
Melt the remaining 100g of butter in a frying pan and when it starts to foam, add the flaked almonds and cook gently for 2-3 minutes until the nuts are golden.
Add the ginger juice and heat through for a few seconds before spooning it over the fish.
Serve with lightly steamed tender stem broccoli, fine green bean or sautéed spinach and mushrooms.
Although Abel & Cole’s rainbow trout arrive individually wrapped and cleaned, on the day you want to eat them I recommend you unwrap them and, with a sharp pair of heavy-duty kitchen scissors, remove the fins and gills and van-dyke the tails (cut into a neat ‘v’ shape). Heads can also be removed, if preferred.
Quickly rinse the fish under cold running water before drying off with wads of kitchen paper. If you’re not eating straight away, set the prepared trout out on a plate, cover and refrigerate until you’re ready to cook them.
Now, to meet those fat needs, here are some of the healthiest fat sources to choose from and include in your diet:
Polyunsaturated fats: cold pressed and rich in omega-3 fats and vitamins A & D: cod liver oil, perilla seed oil, fresh flaxseed oil (buy in small quantities and store in dark glass bottles in a refrigerator). ½ -1 teaspoon per day.
Organic 85-100% Dark Chocolate A small amount per day - 10-20 grams is about right for me!
Organic Nuts: Macadamias, almonds, pecans, pistachios, brazils, walnuts; not peanuts. No more than a small handful per day. If you’re following a ketogenic diet, it’s far too easy to snack on too many nutritious, but highly calorific nuts. If you’re trying to lose weight, you may be better off resisting the temptation and eliminating nuts from your diet entirely. Macadamias are my favourite because they’re a highly anti-inflammatory nut with a high monounsaturated fat content. Almonds are the second most anti-inflammatory nut and are a brilliant alternative to wheat flour and other grain flours for baking. Again, home-baked cake, cookies and crackers made with significant amounts of ground nuts are hard to resist; try to restrict how many of these foods you eat. Walnuts are the best nuts for omega-3 but but also the worst in terms of their omega-3 / omega-6 imbalance, which means you’d have to eat a lot of omega-3 foods to counteract their inflammatory effect. Because all nuts are high in polyunsaturates they’re best stored in cool, dark, airtight conditions. Freezing them isn’t a bad idea.
Here are links to sites where I buy organic nuts online:
Fat 49g Protein 67g Carbohydrate 5g - per serving