Light, tasty and colorful, this hors d'oeuvre, also known as escavŌche, is a specialty of the Ardenees, the southern part of Belgium famous for its freshwater fish, game and wonderful smoked hams (jambons d'Ardennes).
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1 1/2 cups tarragon vinegar
1 cup water
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3/4 pound skinless trout fillets
3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
Freshly ground pepper
1/2 Spanish or large Vidalia onion, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick rings
1 large carrot, sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
1/2 red bell pepper, sliced lengthwise into 1/4-inch strips
1 lemon, sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick, ends discarded
In a small saucepan, combine the vinegar with the water, sugar and 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil and simmer over moderate heat for 3 minutes.
Heat the oil in a large skillet. If necessary, cut the trout fillets into 6 pieces of equal size. Spread the flour in a pie plate and season with salt and pepper. Lightly flour the fillets, shaking off the excess. Fry the fillets in the hot oil over moderate heat until golden, about 2 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels.
Spread half the onion, carrot and bell pepper slices in a 1-quart glass or ceramic bowl or loaf pan. Set 3 fish fillets on top and cover with half the lemon slices, bay leaves and pink peppercorns. Repeat the layering with the remaining ingredients. Reheat the vinegar marinade and pour it over the fish; let cool completely. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 days and up to 1 week. Serve the trout at room temperature with the Herbed Fromage Blanc.
The aromatic and vinegary flavors in the escavŌchemade with trout that marinates for 2 full daysmight overwhelm a delicate wine but not the deeply flavored Duvel ale.
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