Sunday, May 31, 2020

Don’s Pecan Crusted Trout

Plated Pecan Crusted Trout with Cucumber Pickles

Recipe from Old Clipping

Just because we’re sheltering in place doesn’t mean that food has to be basic or boring. This newspaper recipe from who-knows-when features fancy restaurant-like flavors, yet is relatively easy to prepare. Just buzz up the breadcrumbs and pecans with rosemary in the food processor, coat the fish fillets, and fry it up. The hardest part is finding room for 3 plates of coating layers, plus a large platter to accommodate the fillets so they sit flat without disturbing one another once they’re coated.

Plated Pecan Crusted Trout with Fresh Slaw
My friend Don prepared this recipe when I visited him in Colorado. Don is famous for his extensive research into alcoholic hot cocoa. A laminated newspaper clipping from his recipe stash, it’s comfort food with a Southern flair that is also healthful and nourishing—not unlike Don’s persona. Don’s wife Barbara claims some credit for finding the recipe, recognizing its deliciousness, and cutting it out for him to prepare. I used to think I disliked trout—until I tasted Don’s artfully prepared masterpiece.

The recipe doesn’t specify dried or fresh rosemary. Don used dried. I have used both, and either form works. Mysteriously, the quantity of fresh vs. dried needn’t be adjusted. Because the main flavor is the savory toasted pecan crust, browned so exquisitely in the butter-olive oil combination. It’s probably obvious by now how much I love this recipe.

Different sized Plated Pecan Crusted Trout Fillets on Serving Platter
When I Couldn't Find Matching Fillets
One of the tricky parts of this recipe, at least where I am in California, is to get 4 trout fillets approximately the same size, shape, and thickness. But don’t let that stop you from trying it. You can tell from the photos that I’ve used all manner of partial and whole fillets. Thicker pieces require longer cooking time. To adjust, simply observe the edges of your fillets while they’re sautéing. Flip them when they look opaque to a bit less than half the thickness of the fillet. After flipping, they’ll be done when the entire thickness looks opaque. Don’t overcook!

As written, the recipe instructs the cook to sauté half of the fillets in half of the butter and oil, then repeat the procedure with the second two fillets. However, if you have a large electric skillet that will fit all of the fish, it’s fine to cook it all at once in all of the butter and oil. Really, you can’t go wrong with this recipe. I’ve even underdone the fish slightly and used the microwave to finish the leftovers to perfection.  Enjoy!

Four Plates: trout, flour, beaten egg wash, pecan-breadcrumb mixture
Ready to Layer on Coating
Pecan Crusted Trout
serves 4

4 trout fillets, 6 – 8 oz. each
salt and pepper to taste
lemon juice to taste
½ cup seasoned bread crumbs
1 cup pecans
2 tsp. rosemary
1/3 cup flour
1 egg
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. olive oil
lemon wedges for serving

Spread pecans on baking sheet and toast in 350 degree F. oven for 5 – 7 minutes, until deep brown, glossy, and lightly fragrant. Remove from oven and set aside.

White pecans are toasting, season trout fillets with lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Allow to stand at room temperature for 10 – 15 minutes.

Combine toasted pecans with 2 tbsp. breadcrumbs in food processor. Grind pecans finely. Add remaining breadcrumbs and rosemary. Pulse till rosemary is lightly chopped. Pour out and flatten mixture on a plate.

Spread out flour on second plate.

Beat egg lightly in flattish bowl. Beat in 2 - 3 tsp. water.

One by one, coat fillets as follows: dredge flesh side in flour. Shake off excess. Dip floured (flesh) side in egg wash. Immediately press flesh side (skin-side up) into pecan-crumb mixture, pressing to adhere coating to flesh. Set on a platter big enough to accommodate all of the fillets without touching one another. Repeat coating procedure with remaining fillets. If any pecan-crumb mixture is left over, press it onto any skimpily-coated areas of the fillets.

If all 4 fillets fit in your skillet, heat butter and oil over medium high heat. If just 2 fillets fit in your skillet, divide the butter and oil and heat 1 tbsp. of EACH in skillet over medium high heat (350 – 375 degrees F. for electric skillet).

When a small drop of water sizzles in the skillet, place fillets skin-side up (coating-side down) in skillet. Cook without disturbing until golden brown, about 3 minutes (more for thicker fillets). With a spatula, flip fillets and cook till opaque in center, about 3 more minutes (longer if thicker).

Transfer to serving plate and keep warm if cooking fish in two batches. Repeat sauté process with remaining fillets as necessary.

Serve immediately garnished with lemon wedges.

Leftovers are still good, lightly microwaved, the next day. Store leftovers flat, in one layer, with coating-side up.

Toasted pecans, breadcrumbs, rosemary
Just a Few Ingredients
Pecans and Breadcrumbs in Food Processor
Grind Pecans with a Few Breadcrumbs
Ground up pecans with breadcrumbs and rosemary
Blend in Other Ingredients
Two phat fillets frying in butter and oil
Fry Up in Butter and Olive Oil
Closeup of pink edge of cooked trout fillet
Where to Check for Opaqueness = Done-ness
Plated Pecan Crusted Trout with Wild Rice and Broccoli
What Don Served that Inspired this Blog Post

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