The same thing that originally attracted me to this recipe from the Colorado Farmers Market Cookbook, also gave me pause. I couldn't wait to see how the sweet heat of the honey and red chile glaze would pair with the fish fillets and the chopped pecans. But I feared the honey would burn and the nuts would fall off, which is exactly what happened the first round. While not a total disaster, the fillets were marked with unappetizing black splotches. Changes needed to be made.
You need to coddle the fish and give it a little more love and attention. Toss the pecans in the food processor to get them finely chopped, reduce the cooking temperature from medium-high to medium, and make sure to keep a careful eye during the whole process. The result is everything the recipe should be: sweet, spicy, complex, and, most importantly, easy.
Adapted from from the Colorado Farmers Market Cookbook
- 1/2 cup pecans
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 tablespoon red chili powder (ancho or guajillo work well)
- 4 rainbow trout fillets, with skin still attached
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 lemon, cut into wedges
Pulse pecans in a food processor until finely chopped. Transfer pecans to a large plate. Heat the honey into a small saucepan set over medium-low heat. When warm, turn off the heat and stir in the red chili powder. Alternatively, microwave honey in a small bowl for 15 seconds until warm and stir in the chili powder.
Dry the trout with paper towels. Season both sides with salt and pepper, and then brush the non-skin sides with the honey mixture. One at a time, roll the honey-side of each fillet in the pecans until well coated.
Heat the vegetable in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. When shimmering, add as many of the fillets skin-side down as will comfortably fit. Cook until the skins are browned but not burnt, three to five minutes. Flip the fillets and cook until the other side is golden, about two minutes. Reduce the heat, if necessary. The honey will burn if the temperature is too high. Repeat process until all of the fillets are cooked.
Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve with lemon wedges.