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Pan-Seared Trout with Brown Butter

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There are many deep clean rivers and lakes in Argentina, meaning there is plenty of trout. Lemon, hazelnuts and butter are a classic flavour pairing. This recipe can easily be made à la minute on a busy weeknight, with a nice salad and some crusty bread on the side; and it helps that trout is still relatively inexpensive. The outside of the trout varies from brown to speckled and the flesh is a gorgeous ochre orange — it’s a beautiful-looking dinner.

  • Serves

    4

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) unsalted butter (1 stick), for the brown butter
  • 1 to 2 tbsp (15–30 ml) fresh lemon juice
  • 1 lb (450 g) trout fillets, skin on with the scales removed, whole or separated into 4 portions
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) butter, for the trout
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) olive or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) roughly chopped toasted hazelnuts (see below)
  • fresh lemon wedges

Directions

  1. Begin by making the brown butter. Place the 1/2 cup (125 ml) butter in a heavy saucepan with a light-coloured bottom so that you can monitor the browning. Over low heat, melt the butter and cook, stirring frequently, until the butter solids collecting at the bottom of the saucepan turn a deep golden brown with a nutty scent. This will take about 6 or 7 minutes.
  2. Remove the pan from the heat, and skim off and discard the foam. Stir in the lemon juice and set aside. Keep warm.
  3. Season the trout with salt and freshly ground pepper. In a large skillet, heat the 1 tablespoon (15 ml) butter and the oil over medium-high heat. Add the trout, skin side down, and fry until the edges begin to turn golden and crisp, about 2 minutes. Turn over the fillets using a metal fish spatula or flipper, and finish cooking, about 2 more minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish and your desired doneness.
  4. To check for doneness, use the tip of a small knife and flake some of the flesh. It should be glossy in the very centre and slightly translucent pink. (Or cook for longer if preferred. Keep in mind that fish will continue to cook even if it’s taken off the heat.)
  5. Transfer the trout to serving plates. Drizzle each fillet with a small spoonful of the warm brown butter. Garnish with the parsley and hazelnuts, and serve with the wedges of lemon.

How to toast and peel hazelnuts

  1. Place the whole nuts on a baking sheet in a 325F (160C) oven until lightly browned, aromatic, and the skins begin to split. Empty the nuts onto a slightly damp tea towel. Wrap them up tightly for 5 minutes, and then rub them vigorously while still wrapped in the tea towel. Much of the skin will loosen and can be removed.
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