This week we are visiting my family in Santa Barbara, California for spring break. We’re staying in the house where I grew up, and as I write this I am overlooking the very same enchanting rose bushes, Birds of Paradise, and citrus trees that were in my parents’ backyard when I was a child. Every morning, Celia and Andrew go out into the yard and pick oranges from my mom’s trees and squeeze fresh juice for the family. It’s the perfect blend of sweet and tart, so that once I start drinking it I can’t put the glass down.

In the afternoons, Celia goes outside and takes pictures of the flowers that to her seem so exotic compared to the daffodils and azaleas we see in Maryland. Solomon, being 15, sleeps half the day no matter what time zone we’re in.

Yesterday my sister Sheba and I were cracking up as we looked out my mom’s dining room window at all the quail, bluebirds and chipmunks, and I channeled Snow White singing to the forest animals.

Being surrounded by the abundant citrus in southern California inspires me to incorporate it into our meals. At home I sometimes use orange juice from a bottle, but when I take the time to buy, or better yet, pick oranges and squeeze them myself (or have the kids do it), the food tastes that much better.  The fresh flavor of citrus brings new dimensions and complexity of flavors to a recipe.

This dish, a longtime Six O’Clock Scramble favorite, is adapted from a recipe from Shelley Schonberger, who I met when our kids went to nursery school together.  It is so sophisticated and astoundingly delicious, but you won’t believe how easy it is to make.

What foods remind you of your childhood home?

Recipe: Pecan Crusted Trout with Orange-Rosemary Sauce

  • Prep Time: 15 min(s)
  • Cook Time: 15 min(s)
  • Total Time: 30 min(s)
  • Servings: 4

A dish so sophisticated and astoundingly delicious, you won’t believe how easy this trout is to make.

Ingredients

    • 1 – 1 ½ lbs. whole boned trout (have the fish market do this) or trout, tilapia or flounder fillets
    • 1/2 cup pecans
    • 1 tsp. flour
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 1 egg, white only, lightly beaten
    • 2 Tbsp. butter
    • 3/4 cup orange juice
    • 1 tsp. fresh or dried rosemary, chopped

Instructions

    • Rinse the trout and pat it dry with paper towels. In a food processor, finely grind the pecans with the flour and salt. (If you do not have a food processor or don’t want to dust it off, use a mallet to pulverize the nuts in a plastic bag, then shake it thoroughly with the flour and salt.) Using a pastry brush, brush the egg white on the flesh side of the trout (or both sides of fillets). Coat the fish by sprinkling the nut mixture onto the flesh and pressing firmly.
    • In a large nonstick skillet or a heavy skillet coated with nonstick cooking spray, melt 1 Tbsp. butter over medium to medium-high heat. Add the trout, flesh side down. Cook it until the pecans are lightly browned, 5 - 6 minutes.
    • Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, bring the orange juice and rosemary to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer it for a few minutes until the sauce is slightly reduced. Add 1 Tbsp. butter, stirring until it is melted. Reduce the heat to low to keep it warm.
    • Transfer the trout to plates (if using whole trout, cut them in half down the middle, if desired), pecan side up, and drizzle them with the orange-rosemary sauce.

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