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Printed September 10, 2019

Speckled trout great to catch, cook and eat

By Janice Edwards/ The Bulletin

The speckled trout are finally showing up in the river this year. With all the fresh water coming down earlier in the year, the specks have been delaying their entrance – stacking up in the gulf and getting all muscled up before checking out river life.

They are elusive caches of silver flashing at night in our dock light before they shout, “I’m hungry,” with an explosive firecracker pop at the water’s surface. They are a treasure of the San Bernard “bank,” and we’ve yet to make our usual withdrawal.

But this bank holds many treasures from the past to the near future, and they’ll continue to make interest as long as we keep making deposits.

From the time Roy started to teach me to fish, I have kept a fish identification book with the dates posted on the different kinds of fish I caught. Roy and I have fished freshwater and saltwater (a lot of inshore, a little offshore).

If any of you know me for more than 10 minutes, you probably know that my favorite way to fix fish is Amandine. The only reason I ever learned how to cook fish Amandine was the first bite of Mahi-Mahi (Dorado) Amandine I had in Hawaii. It was like a taste of heaven in my mouth. Before then, I thought the only way to cook fish was to fry it in cornmeal, but this Amandine was a whole different animal.

Since then, I have never forgotten the Dorado. Do you know that in the old days when Hawaii was ruled by royalty, that it was against the law for normal folks to eat Mahi-Mahi? If you were caught eating this wonderful fish, you would be killed. That’s bad – but the taste of this fish is almost worth the risk!

When I worked for Texaco, a friend who knew I liked to cook brought me a book entitled “Creole Gumbo and All That Jazz – A New Orleans Seafood Cookbook” by Howard Mitcham. It’s out of print now, but the recipes are from all the famous restaurants in New Orleans and some history as well.

Since eating the Mahi Amandine, I had always wanted to know how to cook it. This cookbook had a recipe for Trout Amandine – and we had trout. I thought it had to be hard since it was served in fancy restaurants, but all you need to make it are flour, milk, slivered almonds, butter, salt and pepper and lemon juice.

With the abundance of trout, I tried the recipe. I have never made my Trout Amandine for anyone who has not liked it and wanted the recipe, even people who don’t like fish.

So, I’ll share it with all of you. Just remember, make sure you use real butter and fresh squeezed lemon juice, or you’ll wonder why anyone would bother making it at all. I especially like making it with lemons from my friend, Gloria’s, Myers lemon tree. Hmm – they are coming in season. Anyway, here’s the recipe, and I hope you enjoy it, too! (By the way, you can use this recipe with any light-tasting fish – not so good using fish with bloodlines.)

Speckled Trout Amandine
6 trout fillets
Milk
Flour (seasoned with salt and pepper to taste)
½ pound butter
Juice of 2 lemons
¼ lb sliced almonds
Toast the almonds and set aside. Fillet three trout of about 2 ½ pounds each, dip the six fillets in cold milk, then in seasoned flour. Melt the butter in a large skillet and place the fish fillets in it. Cook at medium heat until brown, then flip them over and brown the other side. Don’t use a hot fry, which would destroy the delicate flavor of the fish. Remove the fish, place on warm serving plates and keep hot. Add lemon juice to the butter in the pan, stir and scrape the bottom and sides of the pan to release any browned particles, and immediately turn off the heat. Stir until the sauce thickens and turns light golden brown. Pour this sauce over the fish fillets, top with toasted almonds and serve immediately, piping hot.

(Jan wants to hear from you. Write her in care of The Bulletin. Email: john.bulletin@gmail.com. Snail mail: The Bulletin, PO Box 2426, Angleton TX, 77516.)