This started as a post about fish. Trout, specifically, and how we paired it with butternut squash to feed our autumn appetites …

But please. This is really a post about bacon.

I can find nutritional value in chocolate; in red wine; hell, even in a shot of bourbon. But bacon? The nitrate-drenched, sodium-soaked bane of nutritionists everywhere? Three slices pack 103 calories, almost 70 percent of which comes from fat. And let’s not even get started about the conditions in which the meat is cured or the plight of the pigs that provide it.

But still. Oh, still. Be still, my bacon-loving heart. What a flavor wallop a rasher of bacon packs.

We don’t eat much bacon here. The few occasions I buy it, I look for organic and nitrate-free.

So whatever possessed me to buy a pack of Boar’s Head thick-sliced bacon last week? I have no idea. The young one was whining that we never have bacon in the house but then, he whines about a lot of things I tend to ignore. I had no recipe in mind that called for bacon; no plans for an elaborate family breakfast.

Still, the bacon came home. And on Friday, it found its way into a pan of butternut squash:

bnut squash & bacon

Cubed squash tossed with two slices of diced bacon, some olive oil and ribbons of sage; roasted at 400 degrees for 35 minutes; then drained of the grease and served with baked chicken.

Yum. The picky big boy ate his squash, and the young one had a happy bacon fix. (“You should have used more.”)

Then Sunday, the bacon found itself wrapped around pristine trout fillets that were stuffed with sage and preserved lemons — a riff on “saltimbocca”:

trout on grill

The bacon kept the fish moist and imparted a lovely smoked flavor. The picky boy ate his trout.

Which makes me think …

Could bacon have nutritional value after all? It got fish and squash into my son.

Perhaps a little more bacon, please?

Grilled Trout Saltimbocca

A couple of thoughts on this dish: It’s best to precook the bacon so it will crisp up on the grill. Before assembling the dish, place the bacon in a skillet and fry just until the fat begins to render. You want the bacon to stay pliable, but you don’t want it completely raw. Another option for the dish is to wrap the trout in thinly sliced prosciutto.

  • trout lemon sage8 halved trout fillets (or 4 butterflied)
  • 1 preserved lemon, thinly sliced
  • 8 sage leaves
  • 4-8 slices bacon, fat rendered
  • 4 sprigs rosemary

Place two of the trout fillets on a plate and brush with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper:

trout seasoned

Place 2 sage leaves and 2-4 lemon slices on one fillet:

trout with stuff

Cover with the other fillet (skin-side facing up). Wrap a slice or two of bacon around the fillets and secure with butchers’ string. Slip a sprig of rosemary underneath the string, then repeat with the rest of your fish:

trout wrapped

Heat your grill to high, then turn the flame off on one side. Place the fish on the side with no flame. Cover the grill, and cook for 15 minutes.

Carefully flip the fish, then cook an additional 10 minutes. If the bacon seems to need more cooking, move the fish to the flame side for 1-2 minutes more.

Remove to a platter, and serve immediately:

trout dinner