‘Steal’ this Southern wood-grilled trout recipe

In this special weekly feature, TODAY food editor Phil Lempert brings you recipes “stolen” (with permission) from notable restaurants across America. See how much fun you can have (and money you can save) by cooking these dishes at home.

This week: We’ve “stolen” a great Southern comfort recipe from JCT. Kitchen & Bar in Atlanta. “JCT.” is the acronym that stands for “junction,” or the intersection of railroad lines. Try making this fabulous dish at home and creating a junction at your own dining table, where your family and friends can come together for a great meal.


Lou Freeman

1PfalsefalseAbout the chef: Executive chef William “Ford” Fry of JCT. Kitchen & Bar, located in Atlanta’s trendy Westside Urban Market, is a native of Houston, Texas, and a graduate of the New England Culinary Institute. He has an extensive culinary background that includes stints in executive and sous chef positions at several resorts and restaurants.

Before arriving at JCT. Kitchen & Bar, Chef Fry oversaw menu development and overall strategic development of a corporation that specializes in chef-crafted meals for people on the go. He now brings that business acumen and experience with developing innovative, finely crafted cuisine to this creative, regional food concept in one of Atlanta’s hippest dining and entertainment districts.

“Food is a necessary ingredient to our culture in the South. We want good, fresh foods that are expertly prepared and pleasurable, both in taste and from the social aspect,” says Chef Fry. “JCT. Kitchen offers upscale yet casual dining with a focus on the entire sensory experience. We have taken the classic European bistro and the role that it plays in the community, then transformed it into our own, unique neighborhood restaurant offering Southern Farmstead Cooking.”

JCT. Kitchen & Bar
1198 Howell Mill Road, Suite 18
Atlanta, GA 30318
(404) 355-2252

Wood-Grilled Georgia Rainbow Trout with Mustard-Seed Vinaigrette


  • Wood-Grilled Georgia Rainbow Trout Ingredients

    • 4 rainbow trout filets, 8-10 oz each
    • Kosher salt, to taste
    • Freshly cracked pepper, to taste
  • Mustard-Seed Vinaigrette Ingredients

    • 1 tsp mustard seeds
    • 1/4 cup champagne vinegar
    • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
    • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1/2 cup canola oil
    • 1 whole shallot, minced
    • Kosher salt, to taste
    • Freshly cracked pepper, to taste


Baking Directions:

Wood-Grilled Georgia Rainbow Trout1. Oil your grill and preheat to high heat.2. Season the filets with salt and pepper; coat both sides of filet with Mustard-Seed Vinaigrette.3. Grill the skin sides of filet first; cook 2-3 minutes, turning 1/4  turn once (skin side down).4. When cooked 3/4 way done, turn over to the flesh sides.5. Skin can be removed easily, if desired.6. Cook for another 1-2 minutes, or until trout is firm to the touch.Mustard-Seed Vinaigrette 1.Using the back of a sauté pan on your cutting board, crack the mustard seeds.2. Whisk vinegar, mustard seeds, and mustard together in a mixing bowl.3. While whisking, slowly drizzle in the oils.4. If the dressing starts to become too thick, add a touch of water.5. Season with minced shallots, salt, and pepper.6. Let stand at room temperature for a few hours or overnight.

Serving Directions:

Chef’s serving suggestion: Place the trout filet on a plate and spoon a little of the Mustard-Seed Vinaigrette over the fish. Toss the Spinach and Frisee Salad with kosher salt, freshly cracked pepper and Potato Dumplings; serve alongside the trout

Potato Dumplings (Gnocchi)


    • 1 lb Russet potatoes
    • 3-4 large egg yolks
    • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
    • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
    • 1 cup OO or all-purpose flour (plus a little more for dusting)
    • Canola oil, to taste
    • 1/2 stick salted butter


Baking Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.2. Spread a layer of kosher salt onto a baking tray and place the potatoes on the salt.3. Bake potatoes until slightly overbaked, about 45 minutes.4. Let cool just enough to handle; cut in half and scoop out the insides; discard skins.5. Pass the insides through a ricer and mount on top of a cutting board or clean work surface; make a well in the middle of the potatoes.6. Add 3 egg yolks, salt, and nutmeg and work into the potato mixture by hand.7. Sprinkle half of the flour onto the mixture and fold it in gently, being careful not to knead the dough as this will make it tough.8. Add the remaining flour a little at a time; if the dough is too dry, add the remaining yolk until the dough is firm yet slightly soft.9. Test the dough by rolling a 1/2 inch rope onto a floured surface; the dough should hold together.10. Place a large pot of salted water on to boil; create an ice bath by filling a bowl with ice and cold water and inserting a colander into the bath.11. Begin rolling 1/2 inch ropes on your floured work surface; cut dumplings into 1 inch “pillows.”12. Dust pillows lightly with more flour and place on a parchment-lined and floured baking tray.13. Carefully slide the dumplings into the boiling water in small batches.14. Once the dumplings rise to the surface, let cook for 1 1/2 minutes.15. Remove from the pot and immediately drop into the ice bath.16. Once fully chilled, drain from the water and toss in canola oil to keep them from sticking to each other.17. Keep covered and refrigerated until ready to crisp.18. To crisp, melt butter in a large sauté pan on medium to medium-high heat.19. Once butter browns slightly, add dumplings.20. Flip periodically until they are golden brown and crisp; season with salt to taste and drain on a towel-lined tray.

Spinach and Frisee Salad


    • 2 heads of baby frisee
    • 1-2 bunches of fresh spinach
    • 12 oz trimmed French green beans


Baking Directions:

1. Remove core of baby frisee heads; trim outer leaves, and wash.2. Wash and de-stem spinach.3. Blanch green beans for 15 seconds in salted boiling water.4. Toss with Mustard-Seed Vinaigrette.

Want to nominate your favorite restaurant dish for a “Steal This Recipe” feature? Just e-mail Phil at Phil.Lempert@nbc.com (or use the mail box below) with the name of the restaurant, city and state, and the dish you would like to have re-created. Want to know more about Phil and food? Visit his Web site at www.supermarketguru.com.