Seared trout with brown butter vinaigrette
Photos: Jeff Marini

Classic fine dining dishes don’t always lend themselves to home cooking, but trout amandine sure does. AJ Walker, chef de cuisine at the French seafood boîte Café Cancale, makes smart tweaks to the traditional recipe, using orange juice and sherry vinegar to add sweetness and complexity and replacing the slivered almonds with poppy seeds and Aleppo pepper to give the fish toasty depth. But some parts of the classic version remain. “We always talk about the importance of seasoning things well,” Walker says. “With fish, that means a ton of fresh lemon.”

AJ Walker’s Seared Trout With Brown Butter Vinaigrette

Yield:2 servings
Active time:10 minutes
Total time:15 minutes

1 Stick butter
1 Shallot, sliced
1 tsp. Salt, plus more as needed
1 tsp. Pepper, plus more as needed
1 Tbsp. Poppy seeds
2 Tbsp. Sherry vinegar
¼ cup Orange juice
1 tsp. Aleppo pepper (or sweet paprika)
1 tsp. Honey
2 Trout fillets, skin on
2 Tbsp. Neutral oil, like vegetable or grapeseed
½ Lemon


Vinaigrette mixture

Melt butter in a sauté pan over low heat. Turn heat to medium and cook, swirling pan occasionally, until butter starts to brown and gives off a nutty aroma, 3 to 5 minutes. While it’s still hot, pour butter into a mixing bowl with shallot, salt, pepper, poppy seeds, vinegar, orange juice, Aleppo pepper, and honey.

Whisk to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning. Set aside.


Sauteeing fish

Pat trout dry with a paper towel, then lightly season both sides with salt and pepper. Heat a sauté pan over medium high, then add oil. Once oil starts to shimmer, add trout, skin side down. Cook for about 3 minutes, until skin is brown and fish is almost cooked through.

Flip fillets and cook another 15 to 20 seconds.


Plated seared trout

Transfer fillets to plates and squeeze lemon over them. Drizzle reserved vinaigrette over the top and serve.