It seems that many folks who grow up in and around New Orleans have a relationship with food that goes beyond merely enjoying it. In the pages of My New Orleans by John Besh we come to see that Besh has a heightened awareness of what he eats and where it comes from because he has spent a significant part of his life hunting, fishing, foraging, and harvesting the food that made its way to the table of his family home and later, his restaurants.
While Besh was growing up, fishing was more than just a pleasant way to spend a lazy afternoon. Instead of going to the fish monger Besh's mother would send her boys out fishing and dinner depended on their catch, usually speckled trout or red fish.
His mother's straight from the river Trout Amandine is Besh's first childhood food memory and undoubtedly played an important part of his formation as a chef. Simply dredged in flour, pan fried in browned butter, and finished with parsley, lemon juice, and toasted almonds, this dish is an adaptation of the French classic trout meunière and delicious enough to start one on a path of either becoming a fisherman or a chef.
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon Basic Creole Spices
- Six 5-7-ounce skinless speckled trout fillets
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 8 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
Put the milk into a wide dish. Put the flour and Creole Spices into another wide dish and stir to combine. Season the fish fillets with salt and pepper, dip them into the milk, and dredge in the seasoned flour.
Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the fillets and cook on each side until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer the fish to a serving platter.
Add the remaining 4 tablespoons butter to the same skillet over medium-high heat. Swirl the skillet over the heat so that the butter melts evenly and cook until the butter turns brownish, 5-7 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the almonds, and cook, stirring gently, until the nuts are toasty brown, about 3 minutes. Add the lemon juice, parsley, and a dash of salt.
Spoon the browned butter and almonds over the fish and serve.