Spring Trout with Dijon Mustard

April first is opening day for trout fisherman in the Finger Lakes tributaries. Catherine Creek which runs into Seneca Lake being the most famous, but any tributary to any of the larger finger lakes is likely to host a run of spawning rainbows. Lake fishing gets back in gear with many people running planner boards along the shore line of Lake Ontario and the Finger Lakes looking for hungry trout and salmon. So, what to do with some spring caught trout?

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 medium trout fillets
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard ( I prefer the stone-ground)
  • 1 1/2 cups bread crumbs
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed
  • 1 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoons finely chopped fresh oregano leaves
  • Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt

Extra-virgin olive oil

In a wide flat dish, combine the bread crumbs, garlic, parsley, oregano, red pepper flakes, and salt, to taste.

In a small bowl, mix together the mustard and the juice of 1 lemon. Brush both sides of the trout with mustard mixture. Then coat the fish on both sides with the seasoned bread crumbs and press firmly to adhere the crumbs to the fish.

Coat a large skillet with about 1/4 to 1/2-inch of olive oil and bring to a medium-high heat. Add the fish to the pan and cook about 6 to 7 minutes. Carefully turn the fish over and cook the other side until the fish is brown and crispy, about 2 to 3 minutes. This is where those long thin fish spatulas come in handy. Trying to do this with small spatulas usually breaks the fillet.

Remove the fish from the pan and drain on paper towels. I recommend the Duck Walk white with this and since the trout is packed with strong flavors with the Dijon mustard, I keep the sides simple a spring greens salad and rice.

spring trout

A Simple, Sweet Citrus Dressing

We’re dressing for spring, as its right around the corner. This is a light lemon dressing with a hint of orange that shows you don’t need vinegar for good dressing. The basic dressing formula s usually a three to one ration of oil to acid. The oil can be just about any oil you like, and the acid part can be too. But usually what gets overlooked in the oil / acid ratio is the fact that they usually don’t combine easily. So, what can you do to get oil and acidic water to mix? Emulsify! That’s where these other flavor compounds come into play. Whether its salt, sugar, or Dijon mustard, you need to have a good deal of fine grains in your dressing to emulsify the solution long enough to transport the dressing from the bottle to the salad. In this dressing, brown sugar, orange peel, and honey work to keep the oil and acid together.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon orange blossom honey
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange peel
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine all the ingredients into a shaking bottle and shake away. Then, shake some on your salad! Same as last time…

Kick-off Crab Cakes

Well, the big game is a week away, and I’ll be focusing my attention on things from Long Island’s sunny shore that go well with watching a football game. So, I have been in the lab, that tiny slab of a kitchen, and with a sale on crab meat and jalepeno’s… well I can find a good way to work these two together… a newly minted classic – crab cakes with kick.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 lb lump crab meat
  • 1 jalepeno pepper (seeded and diced)
  • 1/2 small red pepper (finely diced)
  • 1 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1/2 teaspoon crab seasoning ( I use old bay)
  • dash of hot sauce
  • bread crumbs

Empty the crab into a large bowl, sort through, looking for pieces of shell to remove. Add jalapeno, red pepper, mustard, mayonnaise, crab seasoning and hot sauce.

Don’t be too rough when mixing these together. You don’t want to break up the crab lumps too much. Its not like making tuna salad. Now, add enough bread crumbs to keep it together, don’t use too much you don’t want these too dry, they’ll fall apart when cooking.

For an appetizer size portion, this should make about eight to ten little cakes, or four main course (man size) cakes. If you are going to fry these, roll the finished cake in bread crumbs. If you are going to broil them skip the extra bread crumbs and spray lightly with olive oil. Either fry in vegetable oil or broil until brown.