Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Pecan-crusted Trout

I feel like I’m so many recipes behind! There’s the greek feast we had at dads, and the Dijon ham & cheese puffs I made at Christmas, the turkey enchiladas, and probably more.

Anyway, I made this pecan-crusted trout tonight, and it was friggin awesome.

Pecan-Crusted Trout with Orange Rosemary Butter Sauce

This recipe was actually instigated by some fresh pecan-crusted trout I found at Nob Hill Foods. If you don’t have such luck, I recon you can simulate it by using the method below.

For trout
2 cups pecans (about 8 ounces)
1 cup all purpose flour
2 large (12- to 14-ounce) trout, filleted, skin left intact
3 large egg whites, beaten to blend

For sauce
4 Clementine oranges, or 1 1/2 cups fresh orange juice
1 cup dry wine
2/3 cup chopped shallots
1/4 cup white wine vinegar (or you could just use more wine)
1/4 c fresh parsley
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 large fresh thyme sprig
2 fresh rosemary sprigs
1/4 cup whipping cream
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces

For assembly
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 carrot, peeled, cut into matchstick-size strips
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
A handful of fresh green beans, cut into 2” pieces
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 cup of dry white wine


Combine pecans and 1 tablespoon flour in processor. Grind pecans finely; transfer to plate. Place remaining flour on another plate. Sprinkle fish with salt and pepper. Dip 1 fillet into flour to coat; shake off excess. Using pastry brush, brush flesh side with egg whites. Place fillet, egg white side down, onto pecans; press to coat with nuts. Transfer to waxed paper-lined baking sheet, pecan side down. Brush skin side with egg and sprinkle any remaining coating over the top. Repeat with remaining fillets; chill.

Combine first 7 ingredients in medium saucepan. For the sauce, I used 4 Clementine oranges, because that’s what I had on hand. I peeled the oranges, and then squeezed the juice into the pot. I also added the pulp (this saved me the step of smashing the oranges against the side of the pan as they cooked). Boil 10 minutes, and then add the rosemary (this stuff grows as a weed, so I always have plenty on hand. If you don’t already have a rosemary bush, plant one. I’m pretty sure it grows everywhere, with just about zero maintenance).
Boil until liquid is reduced by half, about 10 to 20 minutes. Strain sauce pressing on solids in sieve, and then add the liquid back to the pan. Add cream; bring to boil*. Reduce heat to medium-low. Whisk in butter** 1 piece at a time (do not boil). Season with salt and pepper. Let stand at room temperature up to 2 hours.

Heat butter in a pan, then add the fresh green beans and thinly sliced carrot. Toss to coat, and then add the wine. Cover and let simmer for 10 minutes. Add bell pepper; toss 2 minutes. Salt according to taste. Remove from heat.

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter with 2 tablespoons of oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Place fillets, pecan side down, into skillet. Cook until crust is golden and crisp, about 2 to 5 minutes. Using spatula (or two), turn fillets over. Cook until just opaque in center, about 2 to 5 minutes. Transfer to plate. Repeat with remaining butter, oil and fish as needed.

Whisk sauce over low heat to rewarm (do not boil). Circle the plate with sauce, and then divide vegetables and pile in center of plate. Top with fish. Spoon sauce over fish and around vegetables.

*If your sauce breaks at this point, don’t worry. Let it simmer for a bit, then whisk in a teaspoon of flour and it’ll rebind. Don’t feel badly either; it’s nearly impossible to add cream to orange juice, lemon juice, white wine and vinegar and NOT have it break.
**I did mention that this is in no way a low fat/low calorie recipe, didn’t I?