This is the time of the year when each one of us can use a comforting home cooked meal that is at least a little lighter than the standard holiday fair. Between piles of candy and boxes of cookies at the office and all those celebratory lunches, my pants are not zipping up as well as I would like. On the other hand it has been so cold in the Northeast lately, that the body craves something a bit more substantial than a carrot stick. Whenever the fat guilt sets in, I turn to fish and between you and me; a little brown butter does not automatically turn the whole meal un-healthy. Everything in moderation and you can stay slim and fit through the holidays, and if not, well, that is what the New Year’s resolutions are for.
Pan seared Rainbow Trout with Brown-butter
Rainbow trout filets with skin on
1 tbs olive oil
4 tbs of butter
Juice of one lemon
Handful of dill, parsley and 1 clove of garlic. All minced together,
Heat the olive oil and 1 tbs of butter in the medium skillet. Salt and pepper the trout filets on both sides and sear on each side until the edges are crispy but the fish is not over cooked. About a minute per side, maybe a little less, this fish is very thin and cooks very quickly. Sear all the filets and set aside.
Turn the heat low and in the same skillet melt all of the remaining butter. Cook the butter swirling the skillet over low flame until it becomes fragrant and nutty and turns a caramel color. Turn of the heat, stir in lemon juice, pour over fish and garnish with the herb and garlic mixture.
2- 3 oz of dried porcini mushrooms
1 tbs olive oil
1 tbs butter
¼ cup of grated or very finely chopped shallot
2 cups of Arborio rice
1 cup of dry white wine
4 to 6 cups of chicken stock (simmering)
2 oz of grated Parmesan cheese
1 tbs herbs de Provance
Salt and Pepper to taste.
Soak the dried porcini mushrooms in a cup of hot chicken stock for 30 min. Drain the mushrooms and reserve the liquid.
In a sauté pan, gently heat the olive oil and butter. Add the shallot and cook over low heat for a few min. Add the herbs de Provance and the rice and make sure that the rice is well covered with the butter, oil mixture. Add the mushrooms. Cook without adding any liquids for a minute or until the rice begin to smell nutty.
Add the wine and cook stirring periodically until the liquid is absorbed. Add the reserved mushroom liquid and a few ladles of stock at a time, stir in and cover. Stir periodically and do not add any more liquid until the previous batch is absorbed. Some recommend cooking the risotto uncovered, stirring constantly, but for me, it works out better if I cover it and just stir periodically. I cannot say how much stock you will end up using; I just cook it until the rice is al dente. So try often!
The dish comes out fairly rich so I like to serve it with a nice crisp white wine. We had a 2008 Stay Sail White from a Frontenac Point Vineyard in the Finger lakes region. It is a well balance blend of Vignoles, Vidal, and Chardonnay grapes. Full bodied, with notes of apricot and peach. It had a nice crisp finish and was a great compliment to the rich nuttiness of the butter sauce.