As I say practically each time I blog, I learn something new every time I cook with Alton.  Here, I learned I love fish.  I do!  I thought for the longest time I only liked tuna and salmon (oh, salmon is my favorite)… but after trying rockfish with James’ dad… catfish with my mom… then this rainbow trout with Alton, I realize I love fish.

Rainbow Trout

So what am I jabbering about now?  Episode 10, Season 1: “Fish Meuniere”.  Ohhh this Fish Meuniere… I want to go straight to the end: This was one of the most amazing fish dishes I’ve eaten.  It was super fast and easy.  AND it looked so delectable and fancy; based on its appearance, James and I truly felt like we put hours into it… compared to the about five minutes (yes; I’m not telling lies — about FIVE minutes).  *Sigh*  I could gush more (and rest assured, I will later) but for now, let’s get to the details…

…then time for dredging and pan-frying in oil and butter.

Notice it’s flesh side down… Alton says, “Whichever side you want up on the plate should go down first in the pan.”

Here’s more details on the astonishing time it took to cook this fish: Two minutes on one side.  Two minutes on the other.  Done.  Incredible!  All I can think is how Alton single-handedly provided a solution to my perpetual problem of “I’m hungry.  I want food now”… and yes, maybe most pan-fried fish takes this short of time… but any dish that is filling and tastes great — a whole four minutes until completion… who wouldn’t like this?!

I’m “oowing” and “ahhing” over this *perfect* golden crust… again

For a second I’m going to derail from the fish, because I had a small problem… but I believe I know what happened so I’m hoping to save future Alton-cooks.  Solution first: READ.  READ.  And read again.  The answers are right in front of you.  My problem: After the trout was pan-fried, Alton says to remove it from the heat and work on the sauce using the remaining oil and butter… but my oil and butter were brown…

Ew. Doesn’t look like “Good Eats” to me…

So I freaked out and threw the sauce down the drain, cleaned my pan, waited for it to heat, added oil and butter (again)… then proceeded to create the sauce.  Looking back, I made so many mistakes… One, if only I read (or remembered) what Alton wrote in the beginning, “Add oil and butter . . . The butter will melt, then foam, then turn light brown.”  Light brown; it was supposed to turn brown!!!  Second mistake: Alton writes, “If the fat in the pan starts smoking around the edges, drop the heat a bit.”  I’m pretty sure this happened because my oil/butter is a little darker than light brown… which leads me to believe I did not drop the heat and therefore, heated the liquid higher than desired.  Problem Three: Calm down.  This is probably what James was telling me as I did a mad dash from the oven… to the sink… to the oven… to the fridge… to the pantry… and back to the oven.  This is sad to admit, but in my mind, I sometimes forget that my cooking adventure is supposed to be fun.  Instead, all I was thinking about — while turning into a manic-flying-psycho around James — was, “I have to hurry before the fish gets cold!  The fish is going to get cold!  (Insert a stream of cuss words.)  I have to hurry!”  But if I had remained calm, I may have realized my sauce could have been used — since it was supposed to be brown… and even if I did need to be remade it, there. is. no. need. to. rush.  One of my fiance’s favorite things to say to me is, “Breathe”… and that’s what I needed to do.

In the end though, even with my crazy kitchen flitterings, the sauce was restored and tasted fantastic.  …Which reminds me, another reason I adore Alton is because when he provides sauce for the main course, it is never laborious, never a sauce that needs to be made afresh.  No; instead, his sauce is simply created by deglazing (again, I find myself saying deglazing is amazing)… and therefore, both sauce and main course are amplified!  Brilliant!

More on the sauce now: It consisted of butter, oil, lemon (ahhh; I l.o.v.e. lemon), and capers.  …Capers… huuum… I admit, I didn’t know what to think of them… but I was excited to try ‘um.  I know chefs use capers often, but I’ve yet to take a chance.  First, did you know capers are unopened buds from an evergreen bush?!  I had no idea.  And did you also know they are most often packaged in a salt mixture… which makes them salty… so when cooking with them, less salt may be encouraged.  In truth, I tried a caper plain though and couldn’t taste much of anything.  James tried one too… and also didn’t taste much of anything.  Still, they provide a little “bite”, an added texture to a dish… which could be good if cooking, say, soft fish.

Once our sauce was complete, we poured it over the fillets… and sprinkled fresh chopped parsley on top.

Completed Fish Meuniere

Going back to what I said in the beginning, this fish dish was delicious.  Honestly.  This is one of James’ and my favorite Alton applications to date.  Not only that, but this — we decided — is now our “go-to” fish application.  The presentation in and of itself was stunning and a sure restaurant-look-alike.

Fish Meuniere aside rice pilaf and asparagus

My fiance was so cute; he claimed this was the perfect meal to serve if we wanted to impress guests.  I agree completely, love.  In fact, since we made it, this application has popped up often: I chose to give it to his sister; there was a bridal shower for her, and everyone was to bring one great recipe card with them.  I couldn’t think of a more flawless, quick and tasty meal for a new wife to serve her new husband!  And (as a teaser for what’s to come) James and I just cooked this fish along side a new Alton application for his family…  Much more on how that went and what the new food was in a blog soon!

*Sigh*  Alton, it’s dishes like this that make me head-over-heels for you… and not in some strange fan-lovish way; I simply mean, I’m so freaking happy… and grateful you opened my culinary-door.  I cannot say it enough.  I have always dreamed of becoming the person I am — right now.  The woman with the most incredible soon-to-be husband… and they cook together… tasting and sampling new foods, creating new dishes… that quickly become savory keepsake recipes.  I feel like I have my whole life ahead of me with so so many dishes to be created.  Again, thank you, Alton.

PS-Speaking of thank yous… Did you notice my most-amazing All-Clad 12-inch frying pan?!

All-Clad Frying Pan

Holy moly!  I wanted to kiss it when I got it… and yes, in some strange fan-lovish way.  James’ dad and mom bought this for me as a Christmas gift.  I’ve been waiting to make this fish application for months… but had to keep putting it off because I didn’t have a huge frying pan like it called for.  Ohhh, but rest assured; after I got this bad boy, I quickly welcomed it into my kitchen… and James and I got to cooking!  I know; I do have the best soon-to-be in-laws.  Thank you so much, Jim and Mary!

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