It has been a busy past few weeks, as I’ve stopped in several different countries in the last week or so. At long last, I have returned to Chicago, where I’ll be for the next five years or so slogging away on a PhD, and re-united with my husband (and dog). In honour of our re-unitation, David snagged a fresh trout from Fresh Farms on his way to the airport. I came across this recipe on Epicurious and thought it would make a tasty celebratory dinner. Funnily enough, about halfway through cooking, I realized that the recipe was taken from Thomas Keller’s Bouchon recipe book and that I’d actually eaten this dish before at Keller’s restaurant in Vegas, Bouchon Bistro.
from Epicurious.com (Thomas Keller’s Bouchon)
1-1/4 lb trout, cleaned
1/2 lb green beans
10 tbsp butter
1/4 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted
1 tbsp minced parsley
juice of 1/2 lemon
salt and pepper
Pan-dress the trout: Cut away the dorsal fin with scissors. Hold each pectoral fin and cut away and discard the gill plate and pectoral fin. Turn the fish on its back and open it up. Starting at the head, cut away the belly flap on each side, along the pelvic fin. Remove the tail.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Prepare an ice bath. Blanch the green beans in boiling water for 2-6 minutes, or until they are barely tender. Drain the beans and transfer to the ice bath to chill, then drain again and dry on paper towels. Lightly sprinkle both sides of the trout with salt and pepper. Coat a pan with olive oil and add the trout, skin side down and sauté for about 4 minutes on one side only. The fish may look undercooked at the top of the flesh, but the hot ingredients that will top it will continue cooking it.
Meanwhile, put the beans in a sauté pan with 2 tbsp of butter and 1/3 cup water and place over medium heat. Heat, stirring occasionally, until water has evaporated and the beans are hot and glazed with butter. Season to taste. Remove from pan and keep warm. When fish are done, remove head, and place fish on serving plate. Drain oil from the pan, and add remaining butter to the pan and a pinch of salt to the pan. When butter begins to brown, add almonds and brown evenly. Add parsley and lemon juice. Cover trout with green beans and spoon foaming butter and almonds over green beans.
Butterflying the trout makes for a beautiful presentation, while also benefiting from the functional advantage of cooking more evenly in the pan. The original recipe called for the fish to be boned, which we didn’t have. David removed the spine before serving, but that meant we dealt with the pin bones when eating, which wasn’t too troublesome in the end. The trout and green beans were delicious, with the almonds adding a nice nuttiness and crunch to it. David noted that it would be nice to have some kind of sauce, particularly to drizzle over the mashed potatoes we had with it. But overall, a delectable dish definitely worth having again. Welcome home!