Serving Trout, Head First

By Sean Kenniff | Andrea Lorena


Sean Kenniff
Andrea Lorena
Trout Roulade with Dirty Rice, Roasted Peppers, Lacto-fermented Collards, and Ham
Trout Roulade with Dirty Rice, Roasted Peppers, Lacto-fermented Collards, and Ham

The meat of Brian Wolfe’s cooking is butchery and fermentation, and the backbone is Southern product. At Kimball House in Decatur, Wolfe’s flavors are familiar, but his technical prowess takes his dishes into the realm of fine dining. For a whole trout presentation, he plates every part of the fish. “The best meat in the trout is the cheek and collar, if you know how to get to it,” says Wolfe, who encourages large format and family-style eating. Lake trout, country ham, dirty rice, collard greens: they clean up well in Wolfe’s kitchen, but never lose their down-home swagger. 


The trout, from Bramlett Farms in North Georgia, is kept whole as it’s delicately, meticulously butchered—with the fillets kept intact and connected head to tail. Wolfe removes the spine and pin bones, and rescues and reserves the liver. 

Dirty Rice

Dirty rice isn’t dirty without offal. Wolfe cures and smokes trout liver for added dimension. For the stuffing, the liver is joined by aromatics (garlic, shallot, jalapeño, ají dulce, parsley, chive) and folded into cooked Carolina Gold rice.  

Collard Greens

Collard greens take the place of bacon from Wolfe’s original conception of the dish. For a toothsome tang and added funk, the leaves take a dip in a 2 percent salt brine, and then are vacuum-sealed and lacto-fermented for 72 hours. He double wraps the trout in the sturdy, umamified leaves. 

Ham Vinaigrette

You gotta have pork. It would be insincere not to. Wolfe takes country ham scraps and grinds them for a vinaigrette, accentuated by Sherry and white wine vinegars and balanced with rich, nutty Oliver Farm peanut oil from South Georgia. This better-than-bacon dressing calls out to the collard-wrapped fish with the addition of whole grain ale mustard, lemon zest, garlic, and shallot. 

Charred Lemon

A splash of smoky, bitter, brightness. Go ahead, squeeze

Pea Shoots

Local and fresh, the sweet greens are a welcome addendum to a deeply savory dish.

Get the recipe here!

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