The Deep End of Flavor - Speckled Sea Trout Meuniere

Speckled Sea Trout Meunière

Speckled Sea Trout Meunière

“The first fish recipe you need to master is a little like learning to properly fry an egg or a pancake, and about as easy. A meunière sauce is nothing more than browned butter with a squeeze of lemon and some fresh parsley. You can amaze your friends with this one method. In French cuisine, sole is the fish that made this dish famous. Here in New Orleans, Galatoire’s popularized their own version  100 years ago with Trout Amandine, using speckled trout, a fish native to the Gulf, and adding slivered almonds to the garnish. Restaurants all over this city, and well beyond, have their own takes on this dish, and once you get the hang of it, you can go in a thousand directions, using whatever fish looks best at your market.” — Tenney Flynn

Serves two as a main dish. From “The Deep End of Flavor" by Tenney Flynn with Susan Puckett.

2 (5- to 6-ounce) speckled trout fillets or other fillets from a smallish fish (alternatives are catfish, drum or sole)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

½ cup all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon olive or canola oil

3 tablespoons salted butter, plus more if needed, divided

½ lemon, juiced

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Options to add to the browned butter/lemon juice mixture: ¼ to ½ cup sliced almonds for classic Trout Amandine; ½ cup blood orange segments, 4 ounces cooked lump crabmeat, 1 tablespoon minced parsley and 1 tablespoon orange juice; 4 ounces crawfish, ½ cup corn kernels, ¼ cup diced roasted red pepper; ¼ to ½ cup chopped pecans

1. Lightly season the fish fillets with salt and pepper and dust with the flour. Set a large sauté pan on medium heat. When hot, add the oil, then 1 tablespoon butter. If the butter is browning too quickly, remove the pan from the burner and wait a few seconds before adding the fish. (If it burns, dump it out, wipe out the pan and start over.)

2. Place the seasoned fillets skin side up (the flat side, if skinned) in the hot pan and cook undisturbed for 3 to 4 minutes. With a spatula, lift a fillet to check for color. When they are golden brown, tilt the pan toward you so the oil drains to the bottom and turn the fillets away from you so you don’t splash oil onto yourself. Gently flip with spatula and cook, skin side down, for 2 or 3 minutes longer.

3. Remove the fillets to a heated plate. Reduce heat to medium and add the rest of the butter. Using a fork or whisk, scrape the crusted bits off the bottom of the pan while the butter is browning. (If the melted butter has blackened bits, dump it out, quickly wipe out the pan, and add fresh butter.)

4. When the butter is medium-brown (just past the color of light brown sugar), add the lemon juice and parsley, and other additions if desired.

5. Immediately pour over the fish fillets and serve.

Suggested wine pairing: Serve with DeLoach Chardonnay (Russian River, California). The oak and butter in this wine is a perfect match for the browned butter and toasted almonds.