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Pan-Fried Trout With Brown Butter

Pan-Fried Trout With Brown Butter
Carol Guensburg for NPR /

Here's a variation of the simple dish that seduced me in Patagonia. Sauteed trout, served with a gloss of brown butter and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, gets crunch from toasted hazelnuts or almonds and extra color from minced parsley. You'll probably wind up with extra brown butter; save it, covered and refrigerated, to flavor steamed vegetables.

Makes 3 to 4 servings

Brown butter (see recipe below)

1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/3 to 1/2 cup flour

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 pound trout fillets, cleaned

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil

1/2 cup fresh minced parsley

1/2 cup chopped toasted hazelnuts* or almonds (optional)

Fresh lemon wedges

Prepare brown butter, stir in fresh lemon juice and set aside. Keep warm.

Combine flour, salt and pepper in shallow bowl or plate; stir to blend. Lightly coat trout fillets with seasoned flour; shake off excess.

Heat butter and oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add trout, skin side down, and fry until edges begin to turn golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn over and finish cooking, about 3 minutes. Fish is done when flesh turns opaque and flakes easily when probed with a fork. Be careful not to overcook.

Transfer fish to plate. Drizzle each fillet with a small spoonful of brown butter mixture. Garnish with parsley and, if desired, toasted nuts. Serve with lemon wedges.

* Note: Toast whole hazelnuts or almonds on baking sheet in 350-degree oven until lightly browned. (Hazelnuts will split.) To remove hazelnut skins, take baking sheet from oven and empty the nuts into a tea towel. Wrap nuts tightly for about 5 minutes, then vigorously rub then, still wrapped. Much of the skin will be loosened and can be discarded.

Brown Butter

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

Place the butter in a heavy saucepan with a light-colored bottom so you can monitor the browning. Over moderate heat, melt the butter and cook, stirring frequently, until the butter solids collecting on the saucepan's bottom turn a deep golden brown with a nutty scent. Remove from heat; skim off and discard foam. Serve warm.

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