Welcome to week 43 of Fifty States of New Recipe Tuesday. This week we welcome the state of Idaho, who joined the union on July 3, 1890. And once again, I seem to be making up for lost time! Sorry about missing last week. That is a first for me. I have tried to be so consistent with this journey, but last week was just a mess. I dropped my son off for a month as a counselor at camp in the Poconos. Then headed up to New York to spend a couple days with friends. While there, I sustained a pretty nice injury to my big toe. Let’s just say that a good portion of my toe nail was dislodged…from the nail bed. The whole nail will not be with me for long. I wonder what a toe looks like without a nail?? I guess I am going to find out. Add some parent issues and you get the picture. But I am back on track and hopefully this will be the one and only time I miss a whole week.
Idaho is the fifth state to join the union under President Benjamin Harris. As you may recall, the Enabling Act of 1889 allowed for four states to seek statehood. After those states were admitted, Idaho followed by passing a state constitution, which was submitted and approved by Congress. Idaho was originally a Mormon state with a large pro-polygamy population, but a strong Republican group essentially pushed out the Mormons when they wrote the state constitution, outlawing polygamy and denying Mormons the right to vote. Interesting.
Here is some other interesting information about Idaho. It was the last state to be explored by the Lewis and Clark expedition (and any other European-Americans for that matter). There is no documented exploration of the area until 1805. The Shoshone Indians, who inhabited the region, assisted in the exploration. They had never seen a white man before then.
And Rigby, Idaho, is referred to as the birthplace of television. Inventor Philo Farnsworth is attributed with reportedly sketching out the design behind the technology for a high school science paper. His contributions were crucial to the first all electric television system.
In looking for a recipe for this week, once again two foods came to the surface. The first was the potato. I think just about everyone knows that potatoes and Idaho go together. It was in 1837 that missionary Henry Spalding planted the first potatoes in Lapwai, ID. They were originally part of an effort to bring cultivating crops to the Indians in the region. The soil and weather were perfect for potato growing and today, Idaho produces more potatoes than any other state, nearly 30% of all consumed in the US. And although the Russet is probably the most famous, Idaho actually grows more than 25 other varieties as well.
The other food that Idaho is known for is Trout. Idaho harvests more trout for US consumption than any other state. Trout fishing is a popular tourist activity and draws hundreds of thousands of fisherman to the region annually.
So again I made two different recipes this week. The first is Pan Seared Trout with Pecan Brown Butter. I adapted the recipe from one I found on Saveur. I thought the cooking method for the fish was perfect and the brown butter sauce was a nice addition. I did think it needed more acid, so I have adjusted the recipe to include a really good squirt of lemon to the finish. That was all it needed to really bring out the light fish flavor.
The second recipe is Potato Salad with Cherry Peppers and Sweet Relish Vinaigrette. This recipe is adapted from Chef Geoffrey Zakarian. I liked the ingredients and thought it would be really good, but I didn’t care for it. I thought the sweet relish was too overpowering and overall, the cherry peppers added nothing to the flavor of the dish. I am not sure how I would fix this. Matt really liked it, so maybe it is just me. If he hadn’t thought it tasty, I probably would not even have told you I made it.
I think both recipes are not perfect, but I would give the trout an A- and the potato salad a B+ (only because Matt liked it). I would definitely make the fish again, maybe looking for a lighter butter sauce. But the fish itself was delicious and I will not hesitate to make trout again.
Have a great week everyone and thanks for stopping by. See you next week in Wyoming! And yes, that will be the official do over of the state! Check out week thirty for that story!
Recipe for Pan Seared Trout with Pecan Brown Butter:
10 Tablespoons (1 stick plus 2 T) unsalted butter, divided
3⁄4 cup roughly chopped pecans
2 scallions, thinly sliced
2 tsp. grated lemon zest, plus 2 tsp. juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1⁄2 cup flour
4 (6-oz.) boneless, rainbow trout filets
1 tbsp. finely chopped parsley, for garnish
1 lemon, cut into wedges, for serving
Purée 6 tbsp. butter, 1⁄2 cup pecans, the scallions, lemon zest and juice, salt, and pepper in a small food processor until smooth; set aside.
Melt 2 Tbsp. of remaining butter in a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat; place flour on a plate. Season 2 filets trout with salt and pepper; dredge in flour, shaking off excess. Cook, starting skin side down, flipping once, until golden and cooked through, 3–4 minutes. Repeat with remaining butter and trout. Transfer filets to serving plates. Add remaining chopped pecans to skillet; cook, until toasted, 1-2 minutes. Add butter mixture; cook until browned, about 3 minutes. Spoon the pecan sauce over trout. Squeeze lemon over fish. Garnish with parsley.
Recipe for Potato Salad with Cherry Peppers and Sweet Relish Vinaigrette:
6 medium Yukon gold potatoes, skin on, cut into 1/2-inch dice
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 cup finely diced red onions
1/4 cup pickled cherry peppers, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon sliced chives
Sweet Relish Vinaigrette:
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sweet relish
2 tablespoons capers, chopped
1 teaspoon whole-grain mustard
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
For the potato salad: Put the potatoes in a large pot and cover by 2 inches with cold water. Season the water liberally with kosher salt. Bring the potatoes to a simmer over medium/low heat and cook until fork-tender, about 10 minutes. Drain the potatoes in a colander, and then cover with aluminum foil to keep warm until tossed with the vinaigrette.
For the sweet relish vinaigrette: In a large bowl, whisk together the vinegar, relish, capers and mustard. Slowly whisk in the olive oil to emulsify. Season with salt and pepper.
Add the potatoes, parsley, red onions, cherry peppers and chives to the bowl with the vinaigrette. Toss to coat, adding additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately, or keep covered in the refrigerator up to overnight and toss again before serving.
Idaho – Fifty State of New Recipe Tuesday