There is a certain purity about fresh trout taken from a crystal clear mountain stream. Recently I was on a small adventure in the Sierras where I fished a creek in a pristine valley and came out with some beautiful Rainbow Trout. Flashing like silver darts, cold and quick like the rushing streams they live in, Rainbow Trout are just as much a pleasure to catch and look at as they are to eat. They are called rainbow because of the bands of color running down their flank, much like a rainbow. These trout are related to Salmon and are sometimes called Salmon Trout. They are found in all areas of the west, and the Pacific Northwest and are highly sought after by anglers. And they are very good to eat! Fresh trout from cold streams are the best for flavor but if you are not a fisherman or you don't have access to a cold stream in the middle of nowhere, the next best choice is finding them whole at a high quality supermarket or meat market.
One of the best ways to cook this fish, besides frying them up camp side for breakfast, is Trout Almondine. This is sauted trout topped with toasted almonds. Now trout is a very delicate fish, so care must be taken not to burn it and not to over-power the subtle nutty flavor. Also the skin is apt to stick on the bottom of the pan, so a non-stick or clean stainless steel pan works the best. When cooking, take care not to turn the heat up too high and keeping the fish moving helps as well. Here's how to do it.
2 medium sized Rainbow Trout
1/2 stick butter
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup flour seasoned with coarse ground pepper and sea salt
4 or 5 sprigs fresh thyme chopped
1/4 cup Italian Parsley
1/2 cup dry white wine
Trout Almondine is a process composed of 2 steps. First is the almonds. Take 1/4 stick butter and melt on half heat. Add the almonds. Stir, taking care not to burn the butter. If butter starts to smoke turn the heat down. When the almonds have reached a nutty, toasty brown color, remove from pan and place in a bowl. Dredge the trout in the flour and add the rest of the butter to the pan. When it begins to bubble, place the fish into the pan and move it around so as to establish a small crust on the bottom of the trout. This will insure a non-stick crusty skin. Fry the fish until golden, about 5 minutes and turn, repeating the process. Place the trout on plates. Now zest the entire lemon into the pan, cut it, and squeeze the juice of 1/2 into it. Add the almonds and the wine and perhaps 1 pat of butter. Begin reducing on medium heat and when cooked for about 3 minutes, add the chopped thyme. Continue reducing until mixture has thickened. Pour immediately over the plated trout and top with chopped parsley.
A crisp white wine like a French Chablis or Burgundy pairs very well with this dish. So would a very cold dry Rose.
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I am a musician, producer, writer, photographer, chef. I have a website, John Rivera Urban Life where I have showcased my artistic passions. My site is full of useful information about cooking, urban living, music, art and an 'anything goes' section where I talk about anything from politics to philosophy. Guest bloggers are sometimes featured.
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