Lesson 21 is teaching us about various varieties of fish. Here, we study pan-size fresh-water fish, such as trout. Our recipe is for Truite aux Amandes, or Trout Almondine. While I’ve never had trout almondine, I’ve prepared other fish (abalone, to be exact) with the browned butter and almonds which mark an “almondine” dish. I was gifted with these little critters…
But I’m not sure exactly what kind of fish they are. The sweet young woman who gave them to me told be they’d been caught by a gentleman friend, cleaned, filleted and frozen. Aren’t they a pretty color? It reminds me of salmon. My husband assured me they were trout. Bless him.
You know how certain aromas can whisk you away to another place and time? Bread baking, or maybe pumpkin pie fresh from the oven? I had a similar experience with the trout. One whiff and I was instantly transported to a memory of trying to eat the fish, but not being able to, because…I couldn’t stand the taste. I hate fishiness. I can’t eat it. If I try to stick it out, my body has a bad habit of unswallowing, which is most unpleasant. That’s one reason I’m such a sushi fan. If it smells, I don’t eat it. Period. End of report. So, when the first hint came wafting up, I went straight to the sink and washed everything down in ice cold water, lots of it. No help. I called Bruce in and even he stepped back. Then, I looked in the eyes of our trout…cloudy, gray…maybe from being frozen? But still…there was that smell!!!
Enter the leftover roasted chicken I fixed last week to catch up from the week before. It’s been wrapped tightly in the c-c-c-coldest part of my fridge. There’s one spot that is so cold, there’s usually a bit of ice in the drawer. It’s a great place for beverages, or that little something that could stand being all but frozen. That’s where my chicken was. The night I roasted it, we’d already had our supper, actually a big, late in the day lunch, but the chicken smelled so darn good we decided to have “just” a bite or two… I sliced half of the breast as though it were a Thanksgiving turkey, and served it with a light pan sauce. There was plenty left for anything else, and we simply hadn’t used it yet.
I already had the remainder of the rice I’d made for sushi (unseasoned) the other night steaming with some herbs in anticipation of the quick trout recipe, so I took a hard right turn and put one and one together to get a chicken and rice casserole… Riz aux Poulet?? The chicken was so large (Have you noticed how that is all of a sudden?? I can’t find a 3 pound chicken to save my soul these days!) all I needed was the other half of the breast, and I had plenty of meat to go with the rice. I heated up some water and added a bullion cube (chicken flavored) so I could have a strong chicken flavor with not too much liquid, then stirred in about half a cup of cream. I had about 1 to 1-1/2 cups liquid to stir into the rice (about 3-1/2 cups) and the chicken. I heated up 2 cups of frozen peas and carrots and stirred them into the rice mix along with thyme (remember, it was used in the roast chicken recipe) and a few other seasonings, put it into a buttered casserole dish and heated it at 350º for 35 minutes.
I know it isn’t Truite aux Amandes… I could only find one little tilapia fillet, or I’d have subbed that real quick. I found swordfish, but…it’s not close enough. I know there’s a big rockfish fillet in there, but that takes forever to thaw. And the trout was supposed to be dinner tonight… Oh well!
When Life hands you lemons….