6 fresh speckled trout fillets
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
12 oz. Hellman's Dijonnaise
6 large, vine-ripened tomatoes, sliced in halves vertically
6 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp. Durkee's Garlic Bread Sprinkles (or garlic powder)
3 tsp. Frank Davis Seafood Seasoning
2 heads garlic, roasted and creamed
1/2 cup warm brandy
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp. fresh rosemary, chopped
3 Tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
1 Tbsp. Frank Davis Garlic Cayenne Hot Sauce
2 Tbsp. tomato paste (optional, but recommended)
6 cups steamed long-grain rice
First, thoroughly wash and pat dry the speckled trout fillets. Then, after laying them out on the countertop on a sheet of freezer wrap, lightly sprinkle them on both sides, front and back, with the Kosher salt and the fresh ground black pepper. Then immediately brush each fillet again on both sides liberally with the Dijonnaise (a pastry brush does this most effectively).
Now gently cover the fillets with a sheet of plastic food wrap and allow them to 'rest' in the refrigerator for an hour and a half (which just so happens to be the same amount of time it is going to take you to roast the tomatoes).
And speaking of the tomatoes. . .
First, pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees and place a sheet of parchment paper into a cookie pan. Then cut the thoroughly washed tomatoes vertically into halves and remove their cores. When they're all done, place them cut side up onto the parchment paper in the cookie sheet and brush each one liberally with olive oil. Then season each half first with the garlic bread sprinkles and then with the seafood seasoning (plain salt and pepper will suffice if you have no seafood seasoning on hand). Now slide the tomato halves into the oven and let them bake-fully uncovered-for a full hour and a half.
In the meantime, when it's almost time for the tomatoes to come out of the oven, take the trout fillets from the refrigerator, drop them into a hot skillet, and bronze them on both sides over a high fire until flaky and tender. But try not to break up the fillets too much as they cook. When they reach just the right color, place them side-by-side next to each other in a large, buttered, Pyrex baking pan. Momentarily, set them aside.
At this point, remove the tomatoes from the oven and set them on the counter on top of a couple of hot pads (careful! the pan should be really hot!). Next take the roasted garlic you prepared in advance, remove all the little pods from the main head, and drop them into the pan-in other words distribute them evenly throughout the tomatoes. Also be certain to incorporate into the dish the caramelized tomato juices-just scrape them away from the pan with a bit of water as they cook. Now return the pan to the oven for yet another hour.
At this stage of the recipe, it is time to remove the pan from the oven and mash the tomatoes with a potato masher, scraping the bottom and sides of the dish to get all the brown bits into the mix. Then stir in the brandy, the Worcestershire sauce, the balsamic vinegar, the basil, the rosemary, and the garlic cayenne sauce. If, after everything is thoroughly mixed together, the tomato sauce appears too thin, or it seems like it will separate too easily, then whisk in the tomato paste to thicken it slightly.
Finally, gently ladle the tomato reduction over the pan of trout and place the pan back into the oven again (for 15 minutes at 350 or so) to re-warm and finish. Then when you're ready to eat, spoon the sauce, along with a generous serving of trout, over freshly steamed jasmine rice. A frosty glass of richly brewed iced tea and a chilled Romaine and raddicchio salad covered with balsamic vinaigrette will complete the meal!
This sauce not only serves as an appropriate cover for speckled trout and other tender-flesh fish, it also works very well with zucchini, eggplant, or veal Parmesan. But since it has a tendency to separate easily when used with these liquid producing mainstays, I recommend that you heat the sauce separately, add it to the specific dish as a topper, then run it under a broiler to re-heat as quickly as possible.
To keep the sauce from 'breaking' or to thicken it slightly for various applications, you can also whisk in a couple of tablespoons of prepared butter roux. The best way to make your own is to gently cook equal amounts of unsalted butter and all purpose flour over low heat until totally combined into a smooth paste. A butter roux will keep in a Mason jar in the refrigerator for several weeks.
If you don't have trout on hand, this recipe works just as well with sheepshead, redfish, tilapia, snapper, catfish, or whatever else you have. And it is even super-fantabulous served simply over pasta and crowned with either Romano or Parmesan cheese.
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