Now that the price of a movie ticket has eclipsed the number of seats in
most Cineplex theaters, and the lag time from the big screen to video
is shorter than a Julia Roberts romance, it’s more tempting than ever to stay
home and rent a video. The only downside is that this option opens up a
Pandora’s box of rental choices, and food to cook. In my never-ending quest
to help you with such day-to-day quandaries, I am pleased to debut Dinner and
a Video, an occasional feature of this column that will match a movie rental
with a thematically linked recipe and beverage. Think of it as a low-tech
virtual cinematic experience.
My first pick is “A River Runs Through It,” an engaging period piece directed by Robert Redford. The white waters of a Montana river become the backdrop and common bond for the members of a minister’s family as they grow up and apart. There’s something for everyone: glorious cinematography, good old-fashioned fistfights, sport fishing and big-time sex symbols. And Brad Pitt does for fly fishing what Sharon Stone did for leg crossing in Basic Instinct.
My search for an authentic angler’s recipe led me to Nick Lyons, a trout
aficionado and author of 13 books on fly fishing. Nick says the key to
cooking trout is not to overwhelm its natural sweetness with too many
flavors. His favorite way to prepare the catch is so quick and simple that
dinner will be done before the coming attractions are over.
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PAN FRIED RAINBOW TROUT WITH FRESH DIL
If you can’t find your hip waders, farm-raised rainbow trout (occasionally
referred to as brook trout) are available in most grocery stores.
2 8-ounce trout, heads and tails intact, gutted and cleaned
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup fresh dill, large stems discarded, chopped finely
1/2 cup flour
3 tablespoons butter
1. Rub fish on the inside and outside with salt.
2. Beat eggs in a shallow bowl.
3. On a large plate, mix bread crumbs and dill.
4. In your biggest pan, over medium-high heat, melt butter.
5. Pat down fish with flour, then shake off excess.
6. Dip fish in egg mixture, until thoroughly coated, then roll in bread crumb mixture.
7. When butter is melted and bubbling, place fish in pan, cover and cook for approximately 4 minutes per side, or until skin is crispy and meat is an opaque white throughout. Squeeze lemon juice over top and serve immediately.
Le Secret: Do not overcook the fish.
The Adventure Club: Stuff trout with crab meat. This traditional twist trades simplicity for additional flavoring. (Sorry, Nick.) Mix 1/4 pound of fresh crab meat with 2 tablespoons of bread crumbs and a tablespoon of chopped Italian parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Stuff fish and cook per original directions.
Note: Contrary to my recent dissertation on the benefits of freshly made
coarse bread crumbs, the finer store-bought variety are best suited for this
more delicate dish.
The Cocktail Scene: If you choose not to cook, a Boilermaker (a shot glass full of bourbon dropped into a glass of beer) will help get you into the spirit of the film.
Got a clever video/dinner pairing? Mail your suggestion to firstname.lastname@example.org. Selected ideas will be rewarded with a Surreal Gourmet apron.