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Latch onto great trout flavor

The opening of trout season in New York State inspired me to come up with a recipe for this delicacy. Unless you have a fishing pole and a good deal of luck, it is impossible to get freshly caught brook trout.

New York State prohibits the sale of privately caught trout to restaurants or fish stores.

Virtually all of the brook trout sold commercially come from fish farms, and they should carry tags to prove it.

Trout come in all sizes, but half-pound fish are best for the recipe below, which includes a vivid stuffing of shrimp, ginger, shallots and Tabasco.

A rich-flavored recipe like this calls for simple side dishes such as boiled potatoes with parsley and green beans with tomatoes.

Brook Trout Meuniere

With Ginger Stuffing

\ pound shrimp, peeled, deveined and cut into small pieces

\ cup heavy cream

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

1 tablespoon chopped shallots

Dash Tabasco

Salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste

4 brook trout (about { pound each when cleaned), bones removed but with heads left on

\ cup milk

4 tablespoons flour for dredging

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

4 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

4 slices lemon

2 tablespoons chopped parsley.

Place the shrimp, cream, ginger, shallots, Tabasco, salt and pepper in the bowl of a food processor. Process until the mixture is smooth and thick. This should take 30 to 40 seconds.

Open the trout, divide the stuffing into four equal portions, and spread the mixture evenly on one side of the open trout. Fold over the other side to enclose the stuffing.

Pour the milk onto a shallow platter, and mix the flour with salt and pepper in a flat dish. Dip each trout in the milk, shaking off any excess, and dredge each in the flour mixture, patting it to be sure the flour adheres.

Heat the oil in a nonstick skillet large enough to hold the trout in one layer without crowding. Add the trout, and brown thoroughly on one side. Then turn the trout with a spatula, and brown the other side. The process should take about 4 minutes per side.

While the fish are browning on the second side, baste the tops with hot oil from the pan to prevent the trout from drying out. When the fish are done, transfer them to a warm platter and keep warm.

Wipe out the pan with a paper towel and return it to medium heat. Melt the butter and cook until it is hazelnut in color. Stir in the lemon juice.

Pour the butter mixture in equal portions over the trout. Garnish with the lemon slices and sprinkle the parsley over all. Serve hot.

Yield: 4 servings.

Boiled Red-Skinned Potatoes

With Parsley

16 small red-skinned potatoes, about 1{ pounds

Salt to taste

8 parsley sprigs

1 bay leaf

3 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons chopped parsley

\ teaspoon ground cumin

Freshly ground white pepper to taste

Using a sharp knife, peel some of the skin, leaving a band for color.

Place the potatoes in a saucepan and cover them with water. Add salt, the parsley sprigs and bay leaf. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes or until tender.

Drain the potatoes, discarding the parsley sprigs and bay leaf. Add the butter, chopped parsley, cumin, salt and pepper to the potatoes in the same saucepan.

Stir gently to coat the potatoes and serve immediately. Yield: 4 servings.

Green Beans and Tomatoes

Salt to taste

1 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 2-inch lengths

2 tablespoons butter

2 teaspoons finely minced garlic

3 medium-size tomatoes, peeled, cored, seeded and cut into {-inch cubes (about 2 cups)

1 bay leaf

Freshly ground pepper to taste.

Bring enough water to a boil to cover the beans when added. Add salt and the beans and cook 5 to 10 minutes or until tender. Drain.

Heat the butter in a skillet or casserole and add the garlic. When it is wilted and starting to brown, add the tomatoes, salt and bay leaf.

Cook, stirring, about 2 minutes, and add the beans and pepper. Stir to blend well.

Remove the bay leaf and serve. Yield: 4 servings.