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Trout Almondine

(courtesy of Lodge Cast Iron Nation: Great American Cooking from Coast to Coast by Lodge Manufacturing Co./Oxmoor House, 2014. Serves 4. Photo by Helene Dujardin)

This is from George B. Stevenson, chef de cuisine at Pearl's Foggy Mountain Café in Sewanee, Tenn. It's a classic French preparation, combining the freshness of locally caught rainbow trout, the decadence of butter-browned almonds, and the brightness of freshly squeezed lemon juice.

4 (4-ounce) skin-on, boneless rainbow (or substitute German brown, Lahontan cutthroat, or mackinaw) trout filets (from 2 fish)

2 tablespoons canola oil

5 tablespoons unsalted butter

½ cup natural almonds, sliced

2 teaspoons shallots, minced

1 teaspoon fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped

1½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to sprinkle and to taste

Pat the fish dry with a paper towel, then lightly sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.

Place two 8-inch cast iron skillets over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil and ½ tablespoon of the butter to each skillet. When the butter is melted, add 2 filets, flesh side down, to each skillet, and cook over high heat for about 4 minutes. (Note: After 2 minutes, carefully slide a metal spatula under the fish to ensure it is not sticking.) Turn the filets over (the fish should be nicely browned but not dark), and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. Carefully remove the trout to warm serving plates. Remove one skillet from the heat.

Add the remaining 4 tablespoons butter to the other skillet, and melt over high heat. Add almonds, and swirl the pan to coat them with the butter. Cook for a minute or so. Add shallots, parsley, thyme, and salt and pepper (a nice pinch of each should do). Toss the almonds constantly over the heat until they become uniformly light brown. Turn off the heat, add the lemon juice, and toss. The mixture will sizzle and foam. Top each filet with the almond mixture.

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