Dr. Bob Weiss is still at it, speckled trout fishing four or five times a week and cooking most days. The 73-year-old retired physician is a living legend in Lake Pontchartrain trout-fishing circles, but few know of his prowess in the kitchen.
“I like to eat trout; I like all seafoods. There isn’t anything I don’t like,” he smiled.
“My cooking started in 1986 with a divorce. I had five children and had them every Wednesday and every other weekend. I couldn’t boil water.”
What really started him cooking was the gift of La Bouche Creole, a cookbook by Leon Soniat.
“It was so satisfying to do a dish and have my kids say ‘Wow, that’s good.’ I got started reading cookbooks. I read them like others read fishing stories. Then I got remarried to a girl from Georgia and took on most of the > cooking responsibilities.”
His biggest culinary influence was Chris Kerageorgiou, the then owner and chef of La Provence restaurant, who was a patient of his.
“Chris showed me how to do things — simple but important things; things like stocks and sauces. I participated in both years of his cooking classes and our friendship lasted until he died. He was a wonderful character ....
“Fishing is a worse addiction than cooking, but cooking is so much fun.”
We paired Bob’s recipe with one of our oldest and best-loved fish dishes in our repertoire, Trout Amandine. We have used it for at least 40 years and love it as much today as ever.
Treasure Island Trout
This dish is Bob’s own invention. Rather than white flour, he uses brown rice flour. “I like it better than white flour because it makes a crispier coating. The fish may be sautéed in olive oil or butter.”
It is totally, decadently, awesome with the jumbo lump crabmeat on the fillet.
4 12-inch speckled trout fillets
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup brown rice flour
4 green onions, chopped
6 tbsp. butter
1/4 tsp. white pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 lb. jumbo lump crabmeat
1 tsp. lemon juice
PREPARATION: Serves 4.
Wash the fillets and season them with Creole seasoning to taste. Pour olive oil in a frying pan and heat over a medium-high heat. Dredge both sides of the fillets through the brown rice flour. When the oil is hot, add the fillets to the pan. Fry until the fillets lightly brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Melt butter in a small pan. Add the green onions and sauté until soft. Add pepper, salt, and crabmeat and heat until warm, stirring very gently to avoid breaking up the crabmeat. Drizzle the lemon juice over the crabmeat. Plate the fillets and spoon the butter and crabmeat over them.
This is our absolute favorite recipe for speckled or white trout. Glenda has cooked it for well over 30 years. When I bring a mess of trout home, we usually eat it fresh every other day for a week. This is always, without fail, the first dish we cook — then we do a variety of recipes with the fillets that are left. This is simple, it’s good and it rates four stars.
Trout Amandine appears on a lot of restaurant menus, especially those specializing in Creole fine dining. Invariably, they seem to feel the need to “jazz up” the dish with exotic additions and/or too many spices.
This should be a simple dish that features the pure taste of fresh fish and almonds accented by butter.
TIP: Use sliced almonds — never slivered almonds. The slivered kind don’t have enough surface area to interact with the butter, so they stay hard rather than lightly toasted.
3 lbs. of trout fillets
3/4 cup milk
1 cup flour
Salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 stick butter, divided
1/2 cup sliced almonds
2 tbsp. lemon juice
PREPARATION: Serves 6.
Dip fish in milk and dredge in flour that has been seasoned with salt and pepper. Melt half of the butter in a skillet and lightly brown the fish fillets over a medium heat. Place the cooked fillets in an oven set on warm. Wipe skillet and melt the remaining butter. Lightly brown the almonds. Stir in the lemon juice and pour the almond/butter/lemon juice mixture over the fish.