Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Classic Recipe: Trout Meuniere Amandine

Here is one of my favorite sauteing recipes, especially for trout. However it can be used for almost any mild flavored pan fish you want to try it with.

Almonds can be optional if you have a problem with nuts, or you could substitute pecan pieces and other crushed or ground nuts. Experiment and have fun with it.

2 - 6 to 8 oz. fish fillets

1/2 cup seasoned flour (salt and pepper to taste)

1/3 to 1/2 stick of butter, or equal amount of olive oil with a couple of pats of butter added.

2/3 Tbs of minced parsley (about half the amount if you use dried)

1/3 Tbs of fresh lemon juice (or just a nice squeeze)

1/3 Tbs of red wine vinegar or white wine (a splash)

1/3 cup of roasted almonds, you can roast your own if you like but I use the packaged variety, also you might try smoked almonds as well.

Give the fillets a quick rinse and pat dry.

Dip the fillets in seasoned flour. Melt the butter in a large heavy skillet and saute fillets about 4 minutes a side.

Remove fish from the pan. Add lemon juice, vinegar or wine, and parsley to pan an heat until butter foams. Add nuts to butter then pour mixture over fish.

This is a true classic and you have just got to try it. If you can't find trout use tilapia, bass, snapper or whatever you can find that fits in your pan. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Good News, Bad News as Wild Salmon Season is underway

It is the tale of two fisheries, one fraught with man made and natural calamities, the other, enjoying an abundance well above the norm.

First the bad news, the west coast salmon fishery, from northern California to British Columbia is shut down again for the second year in a row, last year, 2008, being the first time in 160 years for this to happen.

The damming of rivers to supply residential, commercial, and agricultural water demands, combined with severe draught, has made it near impossible for several populations of salmon to migrate to their spawning grounds and has brought many of them near extinction. Every river systems salmon population is distinct from all others, once the breeding population is gone, that river system will never produce salmon again as salmon always instinctively return to the system they were spawned in.

The U.S. government has taken action by restricting water consumption in the areas affected, and requiring steps to be taken to ease the migration path so that the salmon will be less hindered on their path to the spawning grounds. The California governor has balked at these proposals, but when faced with the demise of the major commercial and recreational industries that salmon and other species represent, I would think he should be strongly behind these measures.

Ok, now on with the good news.

The Copper River salmon run is the first of the season Alaskan salmon harvest. There are two species involved in this run the Chinook, or King salmon; and the Sockeye, or Red salmon. The run started about three weeks ago and the harvest from this area, particularly the Sockeye harvest, is considered a bell-weather of what the remainder of the salmon season will be like for the rest of the state.

After looking at the chart of total weekly catch which compares this season against last and the five year average, all I can say is "Wow", this is going to be a great season for fresh wild salmon from Alaska. The numbers are literally almost off the chart, beating last years catch at this time by over 150 thousand pounds if I am reading the chart correctly, you can see it HERE. The contrast with the California fishery could not be more stark.

So there you have it, the good and bad of the salmon season which will run until mid September. Expect plenty of fresh Alaskan salmon, probably at very good prices, due to Alaska's excellent fishery management. Meanwhile the west coast, particularly California, will suffer from loss of jobs and income from putting "growth" ahead of preserving their natural resources.