The OF Blog: A Feast of Ice and Fire cookbook review, Part III: Almond Crusted Trout

Monday, August 20, 2012

A Feast of Ice and Fire cookbook review, Part III: Almond Crusted Trout

Fish is a very tricky food to prepare, at least for me.  For starters, I only have a limited selection of edible fish (while I don't consider bass to be poison, it is not something I like), with catfish being my preferred fish species for cooking purposes.  When I do prepare fish, I usually coat it with corn meal, corn flour combined with pepper and occasionally garlic salt, or cracker meal, dip it in melted butter, and bake at 400° for nearly an hour before removing it.

So I thought that I would try a slightly-altered version of the Almond Crusted Trout found in Chelsea Monroe-Cassel and Sariann Lehrer's A Feast of Ice and Fire cookbook, since my local grocery store did not have trout on sale when I bought the ingredients yesterday.  It certainly was very different to the simple (and perhaps relatively bland) approach to fish cooking, as there were several herbs that went into making the coating.  In a blender, I chopped almonds, fresh parsley and dill, shallots, and bread crumbs before adding garlic, an egg, and lemon juice.  The mixture looked rather unappetizing, being a faint yellow-green in color, and the smell was an odd combination of herbs, garlic, and citrus.  So with some trepidation, I first coated the fish in flour and then spread this mixture over it (it was sticky, so I used a butter knife to coat both sides) and then set it in the oven to bake for a little over an hour at 350°.

Below is an image of the two fish after I removed it from the oven:

The flavor is hard to describe.  At first, I noticed the crunchiness that would be expected with almonds and bread crumbs forming the coat base.  Then there were the alternating hints of the herbs, shallots, and garlic, yet none of them dominated.  Somehow, they all blended together to create something that had elements of tanginess and herbs, yet the taste of the catfish itself was not overpowered by this.  Yet for some time afterward, perhaps because I am unused to using shallots or dill in cooking, there was this faint aftertaste that, while not exactly unpleasant, was noticeable for at least an hour after I finished eating.

Almond-crusted fish is something that I might want to try again, but with some modifications to avoid that above-mentioned aftertaste.  I think adding butter and taking away the fresh dill and shallots might make for a meal that is a bit lighter in taste while still having the crunchy qualities that this meal provides.  This is not a negative critique of this recipe but rather a thought of how later to incorporate elements of this recipe into preparing one of my favorite meals with elements that I have used for years.


Gabriele Campbell said...

That sounds like something I might try. In the original variant; I use shallots and dill for other cooking, too.

What bread did you use?

Lsrry said...

Store-bought plain breadcrumbs, although I think Panko-style breadcrumbs might be interesting. Then again, the food processor chops all of it down into a greenish-yellow paste.

Can't remember if the full recipe is on the Inn at the Crossroads site, but if memory serves, it went something like this:

1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup chopped dill
2 shallots, chopped
1/2 cup almonds, chopped

Those were chopped in the processor first and then 1 egg, 4 minced garlic cloves, and 1/4 cup lemon juice added to the mix.

But my memory could be off a bit.

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