Almond Sriracha Crusted Trout & Ginger Rice Pilaf

This is hands-down my favourite fish recipe these days.  I think I've made it half a dozen times since first trying it in November.  It comes from Quebec based food blogger and singer/ song writer Marilou Champagne's recent debut cookbook Three Times A Dayfeaturing beautiful photography by her husband Alexandre Champagne.  In the introduction, Marilou candidly shares her struggles with anorexia and how she healed her relationship with food by promising to to eat "three meals a day". The wonderfully nourishing and celebratory recipes in Three Times A Day are a powerful tribute to her recovery,  and I have tremendous respect and appreciation for her food philosophy.  

So flipping through the pretty pages of this lovely new addition to my ever expanding cookbook library, I stumbled upon this recipe which I was immediately compelled to make.  Why?  Well,  because -  Sriracha!  You know, the ubiquitous Thai chili sauce that is really having a star moment right now.  Plus I have a soft spot for nutty crust on fish.  Plus I love trout; it is delicious, my kids think it's salmon, and I can always source a year-round locally farmed, sustainable supply here in Toronto.  

The aromatic ginger rice pilaf  is a perfect compliment to the delicate, biting, buttery tang of the crust on the fish.  A bit of sautéed ginger and onion is a simple, but brilliant strategy for majorly bumping up the flavour profile of plain old rice.   It comes together in a cinch.  With a bit of steamed broccoli or a crisp green salad, you have a complete meal in under half an hour.  It's also a very flexible meal - you can leave a section of the fish free of crust, for younger and/ or pickier eaters (damn them!) as you can see in the picture above.  

I've shown the recipe below, as it's written, but I often make extra crust  (1.5 x the recipe) because it's so tasty and I want to be sure I always have enough to cover the entire surface area of the fish.   

ALMOND SRIRACHA CRUSTED TROUT WITH GINGER RICE PILAF

Rice
2 tbsp butter
1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion
2 tbsp fresh ginger, finely chopped and peeled
1 cup long grain white rice (I use basmati, but I think brown could also work here) 
2 cups broth (I use better than bouillon vegetable broth) 

Fish
1 1/2 lb trout

zest and juice of 1 lime
1 to 2 tsp sriracha
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
1/3 cup panko bread crumbs (I'm sure gluten free would work fine) 
1/3 cup almond flour
1/3 cup mayonnaise
Salt and pepper to taste

1.  Preheat oven to 400F. 

2.  Melt butter in pot and cook onion and ginger together until soft, about 5 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.

3.  Add the rice and cook for 2 more minutes.  Add the stock and bring to a boil. 

4.  Reduce heat , cover and cook for 15 to 20 minutes until the rice has absorbed all of the stock.

6.  Arrange trout on a baking sheet, lined with parchement and season with salt and pepper.

7.  In a bowl combine all of the crust ingredients.  Add salt and pepper and spread over the trout fillet or fillets.   (I use a small offset spatula to do this.)

8.  Bake the fish in the oven for 5 to 6 minutes, and then broil under the broiler until the crust turns golden brown.

9.  Serve with the rice pilaf. 

Serves 4