I had a nice surprise this morning. My neighbor, Dayle, lives two doors down the street in the same 1895 six-unit three-story yellow-brick row house building that we live in. She and her husband were one of the first tenants of this building when it was rehabbed in the early ’80s, so she knows all the block gossip. Stephen and I were out at the doctor’s this morning, and when I got home, there was a message from Dayle. She was providing the ingredients and recipe for the entrée to a fabulous supper, and all I had to do was put them together!
Night before last when we were driving her home from a social gathering we both attended, Dayle heard my story of the labors of providing a gluten-free diet for Stephen loud and clear. The conversation then turned to kinds of flours alternative to wheat flour. “Did you ever try chestnut flour?” she had asked, and I had replied, “No, I didn’t even know there was such a thing!” And then she promised to follow through with her fail-safe quick and easy recipe for trout prepared with only four ingredients: the fish, lemon oil, chestnut flour and ground pine nuts. “Just go to epicurious.com and search for the recipe,” she had said, and now here she was today providing it for us.
This blog is proud to report the results of this unplanned and impromptu dinner. Dayle showed up as promised about 4 p.m. with a plastic bag of trout on ice, a small vial of lemon oil and baggies of chestnut flour and pine nuts. “The recipe calls for half a cup each of pine nuts and chestnut flour, but I like to use almost a cup of pine nuts. Just throw the pine nuts into a blender and grind. Then coat both sides of the boned trout fillets (cut along the back into two fillets) with lemon oil and dredge in the nut mixture. Saute in butter 3 minutes to a side and that’s it.”
So now I had a problem to solve. What to serve with the trout? No question there, I had an eggplant that had to be used in the crisper and half a can of diced tomatoes and half an onion to be used in the fridge. So I invented (or more accurately, reconstructed) a recipe for these things. Had I added sweetened vinegar and celery, I would have had a version of caponata.
- Put some olive oil in a sautée pan, heat and add some diced onions.
- Meanwhile, peel and dice an eggplant and add that to the pan, sautée and stir occasionally
- Add the tomatoes and a handful of chopped black olives, sautée some more
- Chop up three cloves of garlic, and add along with little piles of salt, basil and oregano
- When it looks cooked (about 15-20 minutes), turn on low, cover and keep warm while you do the rest
Also, I had half a package of frozen lima beans. Cook ’em in a little water for about 20 minutes, add salt and sprinkle cumin.
The trout turned out really fabulous looking. I had thought maybe more like 4 minutes on a side, but sure enough, Dayle was right medium heat, 3 minutes a side, starting with the flesh down, and then turning the skin down, produces a perfectly browned fillet. The first thing Stephen said was, “This has a really subtle flavor.” A couple of minutes later, there was not much trout left on his plate. I guess he was trying to find the flavor.
Dear Dayle, thanks for remembering to follow that old maxim, “Love thy neighbor.”