Pan-Fried Trout with Black-Eyed Pea Salad
- 5 cups cooked and drained black-eyed peas
- 4 slices bacon, cooked until crisp and crumbled, fat reserved separately
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion, about 1/2 medium onion
- 1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
- 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped green onions
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped jalapenos
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
- 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons Emeril's Original Essence, recipe follows, plus more for seasoning
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, plus more for seasoning
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper, plus more for seasoning
- 8 (3-ounce) trout fillets, skinned
- 1/2 cup cornmeal
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
- 2 tablespoons butter, divided
- Freshly chopped chives, for garnish
Combine the black-eyed peas, crumbled bacon, 3 tablespoons of reserved bacon fat, red wine vinegar, olive oil, red onion, bell pepper, celery, green onions, jalapenos, parsley, garlic, 2 teaspoons Essence, 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl and toss well to combine. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or preferably overnight, stirring occasionally. Allow salad to come to room temperature for 30 minutes and toss well just before serving.
Season the fillets well on both sides with Essence, salt and white pepper. In a shallow bowl or plate, combine the cornmeal and flour. Dredge the fillets in the cornmeal mixture, coating completely. In a 10-inch nonstick saute pan, over medium heat, add half of the vegetable oil. When the oil is hot, add half of the butter and half of the fillets and saute until golden, about 2 minutes on the first side and 1 to 2 minutes on the second side. Remove the fillets and drain on paper towels. Repeat with the remaining vegetable oil, butter and remaining fillets, wiping the saute pan, if necessary, between batches.
Serve the fillets immediately, 2 per person, with some of the black-eyed pea salad spooned over the top. Garnished with chopped chives.
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