|A Trout Farm Raceway. Constantly|
moving water is essential for
the health and growth of the fish.
On an ounce for ounce basis, Trout packs quite the nutritional punch: One 3 ounce filet contains all of 19 grams of protein, 89 percent of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin B-12, 15 percent of vitamin B6 and 25 percent of Niacin. And then there’s the matter of how delicious Trout tastes. In this recipe, a piece of Trout is dipped in egg, then in some soft, fresh breadcrumbs and cooked in all of about 3 or 4 minutes. Because the flavor of Trout is so mild, it almost calls for a counterpoint. In this case, that takes the form of a salty, semi-spicy Lemon-Chile Butter. The salty portion comes from Anchovy paste, the spice from a fresh red cherry pepper. Add some minced shallot and some finely grated lemon zest and you’ve got a perfect counter balance to the delicacy of the fish. I did change up the original recipe which I found in Food and Wine, starting with its name.
In their “Annual Cookbook 2013” (American Express Publishing 2013), the dish is called Trout Schnitzel. And although I have deep affection for a good Schnitzel, I wouldn’t call this one. The breadcrumbs used are made from Challah bread. Lately, virtually every recipe for Schnitzel has called for Panko. What separates this Japanese breadcrumb from the ones made with Challah is this: Panko is made from bread without crusts. The bread is coarsely ground into airy, large flakes that give Schnitzel a light, crunchy coating. Panko flakes tend to stay crispier longer than standard breadcrumbs because they don’t absorb as much grease. So I call this dish, not Trout Schnitzel but Sauteed Trout. The other change that I made to the original recipe was that instead of using anchovy filets in the Lemon-Chile Butter, I opted for anchovy paste. This simplifies making the butter without sacrificing any of the taste. I cut this recipe in half which eliminates having to cook the fish in shifts and having to use the oven at all. All in all, this is a perfect weeknight dinner. Here’s the recipe:
Recipe for Sauteed Trout with Lemon-Chile Butter adapted from Food and Wine: Serves 4. Takes a maximum of 35 minutes.
1 fresh red chile, minced
1 medium shallot, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 large eggs
3 cups soft, fresh, coarsely ground brioche bread crumbs
4 large skinless trout fillets (8 ounces each)
Vegetable oil, for frying
Lemon wedges, for serving
Preheat the oven to 325°.
Make the Lemon-Chile Butter:
In a bowl, blend the butter, anchovies, chile, shallot and lemon zest and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
In a large, shallow bowl, beat the eggs. Put the bread crumbs in another large shallow bowl. Season the trout with salt and pepper and dip each fillet in the egg, letting the excess drip off. Dredge the trout in the bread crumbs, pressing to help them adhere.
Set a plate lined with paper towels and a baking sheet with a rack near the stove. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1/4 inch of oil until shimmering. Add 2 of the trout fillets and cook over moderately high heat, turning once, until browned and crisp, 1-1/2 to 2 minutes per side; reduce the heat to moderate if the fillets brown too quickly. Drain the trout on the paper towels, transfer the fillets to the rack and keep warm in the oven. Using a slotted spoon, discard any dark crumbs in the skillet and add more oil if needed to fry the remaining 2 trout fillets. Serve the trout with the lemon-chile butter and lemon wedges.