No, there’s no chocolate in this recipe! But the dates give it a gorgeously rich sweetness in an otherwise savoury dish. It’s a must-try –trust me, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
• 6 medjool dates, pitted
• 1 cup orange juice
• 1 whole brown trout, gutted, skin on and descaled
• 2 Tbsp date syrup
• 6 mint leaves
• 4 pinches of flaky salt
• 4 pinches of pepper
• 1 mandarin, sliced
1. Grab a handful of medjool dates, place in a small bowl with the orange juice and soak in the fridge overnight.
2. Preheat the oven to 170°C.
3. Keeping the whole fish intact, place on baking paper and score along one side of the fish using a sharp knife. Repeat on the other side.
4. Brush the whole fish with the date syrup, making sure the syrup soaks into the flesh of the fish through the scored incisions, and brush inside the gut cavity.
5. Taking your orange-soaked dates, quarter them and place the quarters with the mint leaves into the scored incisions along the body of the fish. Season with salt and pepper. Repeat on the other side. Now take the mandarin slices and stuff into the gut cavity.
6. Drizzle olive oil over the fish and place in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until cooked.
7. Serve as is, being mindful of bones.
Tip: Scoring the fish simply means to slice incisions along the body of the fish from the dorsal fin down to the belly, creating the look of gills along the whole body of the fish – a great technique for infusing flavour.