An Appalachian Delicacy

An Appalachian Delicacy: Trout recipes from Chef William Dissen, a decorated Asheville culinarian
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Alongside his role at The Market Place, Dissen also owns Billy D’s Fried Chicken, which features hot and fresh Southern staples. He’s also the founder of Charlotte’s Haymaker, a purveyor of local and seasonal fare.

It is said that death and taxes are only two certain things in this life, but I would like to posit a third: trout will always be on the menu at the Market Place Restaurant in downtown Asheville. A pioneer in the farm-to-table movement, the Market Place has been serving locally sourced and sustainably grown food for 45 years and for the past 15 of those years, Chef William Dissen has been at the helm. 

It’s been a busy year for both Chef Dissen and the restaurant. The Market Place was a semi-finalist for this year’s James Beard Award for Best Restaurant, and Dissen published his first cookbook, Thoughtful Cooking: Recipes Rooted in the New South this spring. 

“I wanted to talk about being inspired by food and having a purpose,” says Dissen. “What does food do—not just for us nourishing our bodies—but what does it do for the community as a whole? And to me it comes down to being thoughtful eaters.”

And Dissen knows a thing or two about the impact of thoughtful eating and conscious cooking. As an ambassador with the American Chef Corps and the US State Department, he carried the gospel of thoughtful foodways to the United Nations World Food Summit in Copenhagen in 2018.

“I think it’s important to take the time to realize where your food comes from and what the effects are of what you are eating—not just on your own body, but on the environment and the world around you? What is the trickle down effect on that food shed that you are sourcing from? Every time we eat, we’re voting with our fork.” Dissen has also served as an ambassador for the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch as well as acting as a leader for their Blue Ribbon Task Force, prompting none other than Gordon Ramsey to refer to him as, “one of the most sustainable chefs on the planet.”

For Dissen, that means sourcing locally and sustainably grown foods for his restaurant, and one of the best products he can find is the trout from Sunburst Farms. “[It] comes from just up the road,” he says. “You couldn’t ask for a fresher product!”

“Trout and salmon are in the same family,” he notes. “Structurally, they’re pretty much identical. Trout are like their smaller freshwater cousin, so to speak.” Both are from the Salmonidae family of fish, but trout spend their whole lives in freshwater, while salmon drift between salt and freshwater. So while the salmon may be a bit more robust and the trout a bit smaller, you can usually treat them in similar ways in the kitchen. 

RECIPES:

Whole Stuffed Rainbow Trout with Lemon Butter and Grilled Ramps

Smoked Rainbow Trout with Roasted Yellow Beets, Shaved Radish, Preserved Lemon, Smoked Pecans, Endive and Green Goddess Dressing

Smoked Trout Pâté

Green Goddess Dressing

White Wine & Herb Vinaigrette

The Market Place
20 Wall St., Asheville
Sunday & Monday-Thursday 5 p.m.-8:30 p.m., Friday & Saturday 5 p.m.-9:30 p.m. (828) 252-4162
marketplace-restaurant.com