Anglers of the world, despair not as the trout season in France runs until the 3rd Sunday of September. You have plenty of time to plan your trip. As for me, I was dusting off my fly-fishing equipment the other day and looking dubiously at my collection of fly rods, reels and numerous tangled lines while I relived great moments in angler history like the time I cleverly hooked my finger instead of a trout. In my mounting anticipation of eventually matching wits against the clever trout community, I pondered my choice of eventual destinations. I had been to Normandy and enjoyed the icy waters and generally rugged surrounding and the rich food and the shot of calva before breakfast. But I knew there were other regions in France well known for their fishing such as the Camarque and Jura, the Dordogne and the Pyrénées. Too many choices, I was already getting anxious.
Now I enjoy my solitude as much as the next person but figured who better to invite to come along with me than my good friend Luc, aka four-fingers Luc, aka Beau Jeste. This little expedition, I knew, would be right up his alley as he is always one to jump at an opportunity to match his well honed skills developed over years of chasing bad guys around the world against that of the great untamed wild, big game hunting or fishing as it were. Predictably, Luc was ecstatic with the news and immediately started in with his fishing exploits. I reminded him that I was well aware of his exploits having seen him, first hand in the Mediterranean battling a French swordfish who "cried uncle" or "monsieur" after the first shotgun blast was fired. I told Luc to leave the grenades, anti-personnel mines, and his trusty Glock safely at home with Anaïs-his lovely wife. Despite my advice, I knew his Kukri curved dagger from Nepal or his saw-toothed assault knife or possibly both would be tucked away somewhere just not in my back. In some small way I found that comforting.
Truite Meunière Amandine
Adapted from Saveur Magazine
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
Canola oil, for frying
2 cups milk
2 cups flour
4 8-oz. boneless, skinless sea trout, redfish, or red snapper fillets
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 cups sliced almonds, toasted
1 tbsp. minced parsley, for garnish
1 lemon, cut into slices, for serving
1. Heat butter in an 8" skillet over medium heat; cook, stirring, until solids turn dark brown, 20–25 minutes. Remove from heat; whisk in vinegar and lemon juice; set sauce aside.
2. Pour oil into a 6-qt. Dutch oven to a depth of 2"; heat over medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer reads 350°.
3. In a shallow dish, whisk together milk and eggs; put flour into another shallow dish. Season fish with salt and pepper. Working with one fillet at a time, dip fish in flour, shake off excess, and then dip in egg mixture and shake off excess.
4. Return fillets to flour; transfer to a rack over a baking sheet. Working in two batches, fry fish until golden brown, 5–6 minutes, then drain on paper towels.
5. To serve, divide fish between 4 plates; sprinkle almonds on top. Whisk sauce and spoon over fish. Garnish with parsley; serve with lemon slices.
Now about those wines...
2004 Domaine du Collier Saumur Blanc La Charpentrie - Valley de la Loire, France
2006 Chablis Grand Crus "Les Clos" Lamblin et Fils - Burgundy, France
2008 Albert Boxler Grand Cru Sommerberg "E" Riesling - Alsace, France
2005 Waterford Estates Sauvignon Blanc- Stelenbosch, South Africa
2010 Chateau St. Jean Chardonnay -Sonoma County, California