100 Favorite Dishes: No 1. -- Trout Amandine From Rack's Downtown Eatery + Tavern
No. 1: Trout Amandine from Rack's Downtown Eatery + Tavern
How do you pick something like the number-one dish out of a list of 100 greats? To me, it's got to boil down to something unexpected and memorable -- a dish that stays
with you long after you leave the restaurant, crawling into your head and leaving you wanting for days, imagining that you had just one more bite, one more crumb to savor. That's exactly the feeling this most unlikely of top 100 dishes leaves you with. I say unlikely, because, honestly, who'd have thunk it? Trout is a fairly boring animal, by fishy standards, with a "fresh water" taste that some people find too strong. It's oily and unrefined, better-suited for a fish fry than a five-star plate. And amandine (aka, almondine)? This antiquated preparation is something you'd find out of the tattered, yellowed pages of the Rainbow Room Cookbook. Yet despite all those factors, Rack's version of this vintage dish just frickin' works. The trout is supple and moist, pan-fried skin-on and coated with a thin sheen of bread crumbs and slivered almonds to add texture. And it's plated above the most beautiful bouquet of summer vegetables -- large butter and lima beans, succulent sweet corn, and wispy flourishes of grassy micro greens -- a mixture that completely tames the oily, pungent nature of the fish. To finish it off, there's the soy-apple emulsion; a rich, acidic, sweet, tangy, headstrong beast of a sauce that you'll want to swipe your outstretched forefinger through again and again. Yep, Rack's most winning dish may not be its most noticeable. But I'd be content to eat this dish a hundred times over; each time as great as that very first bite.
Rack's Downtown Eatery + Tavern
402 Plaza Real, Boca Raton
Follow Clean Plate Charlie Facebook on Twitter: @CleanPlateBPB