100 Favorite Dishes

100 Favorite Dishes: No 1. -- Trout Amandine From Rack's Downtown Eatery + Tavern

As a countdown to the Best of Broward Palm Beach 2011, coming in June, Clean Plate Charlie is serving up a hundred of our favorite dishes in South Florida. Send your own nominations to [email protected]

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


Rack's Downtown Eatery + Tavern
402 Plaza Real, Boca Raton

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John Linn