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The "Amandine" Way

A seatrout recipe you need to know.

Tender, crispy, nutty and sweet, amandine style complements the light taste and texture of seatrout.

This recipe's combination of fish, butter, and lightly toasted almonds can't be beat. Moreover, it's a classic that every seafood cook ought to know and it's simple to prepare and make.

The classic recipe for fish amandine calls for freshwater trout. Rainbows and browns work well, but don't expect to find many of them south of the north Georgia mountains. Of course you could ask your local fishmonger to find you some, but I believe in supporting our own resources, and there are many species in our salty waters that are eligible for this recipe. Slot-sized spotted seatrout is the species that immediately comes to mind. This mild tasting, moderately firm fleshed fish is a favorite of many, as it's not too fishy and takes well to sautéing and to saucing. Other options are smaller members of the grunt or snapper families, as well as flounder or pompano.

Fish cookery isn't rocket science, but there are a few things to consider. Fish skin is one. Leaving the skin on fillets does help hold the flesh together when cooking, but it can sometimes add unwanted taste to your meal. Snook is the classic example: cooked with the skin intact, snook tastes just like Ivory soap! Another consideration involves cooking time. Don't overcook your fish. Thin fillets cook quickly and heating them just shy of being completely done and allowing them to finish cooking on their own, out of the pan or off the grill, is a good way to ensure tenderness and the best flavor. With your favorite fish, it will take some practice to get the cooking time just right, but you, and especially your guests, will taste the difference. FS

Fish Amandine

Four 6- to 8-ounce fish fillets

All-purpose flour

4 tbsp. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

2 tbsp. canola or peanut oil

Lightly dredge the fish fillets in flour. Heat the butter and oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat, then sauté the fish until browned and crispy. Remove fish from pan and drain on paper towels.

4 tbsp. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

1 cup sliced or slivered raw almonds

Juice of one lemon

Salt and pepper, to taste

Flat-leaf (Italian) parsley

In the same pan, wiped clean of the fish oil, sauté almonds until lightly toasted in the fresh butter. When toasted, add the lemon juice, salt and pepper to the almonds.

To serve, spoon the almonds over the plated fish and garnish with parsley. (Serves 4)

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