I first sampled this fish one sunny day in June, on the magical terrace of Mini Palais, the restaurant situated inside the Grand Palais museum in Paris. This is such an easy, quick, delicious dish and one that we have often made in class: The entire dish can be prepared several hours in advance and one can easily adjust the number, baking enough fillets to serve two or twenty!
A baking sheet lined with baking parchment.
4 tablespoons (60 g) unsalted butter
4 tablespoons (30 g) almond meal (see Notes)
Fine sea salt
Coarse, freshly ground black pepper
8 fresh white-fleshed fish fillets, about 3 ounces (90 g) each (see Note)
1/2 cup (40 g) sliced almonds
• Almond meal (sometimes called almond flour) is made from blanched or unblanched (skin-on) almonds. For this recipe, whole, unblanched almonds can be finely ground in a food processor or an electric spice mill. Do not over-process or you may end up with almond butter.
• Any firm, white-fleshed fish fillets can be used here, such as halibut, flounder, trout, or perch.
1. In a small pan, melt the butter. Remove from the heat and stir in the almond meal. Season with salt and pepper and stir again. Set aside to cool at room temperature until the mixture hardens and spreads easily. about 1 hour. (Do not refrigerate. The mixture may become too firm to spread.)
2. Center a rack in the oven. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
3. Place the fillets side by side on the baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Spread the cooled almond butter over the fillets. Cover the paste with a layer of sliced almonds. Place in the oven and bake the fillets for 4 minutes. To test for doneness, pierce a fillet with a knife set at a 45-degree angle. The fish should be opaque and flake easily. If the almonds are not sufficiently colored, place the fillets under the broiler until golden. Serve immediately.
On that golden day we sampled the golden white from winemaker Olivier Merlin: His Macon la Roche Vineuse is pure, mineral-rich, a pleasure, and a fine match for this almond-flecked fish dish.
This recipe was first published in The French Kitchen Cookbook. All rights reserved. Please do not reproduce without permission.