Roasted trout on parsnip potato latkes with date and spinach salad and apple butter

Roasted trout with latkes
Roasted trout with latkes

Courtesy of Twain's

Many know Twain’s Brewpub & Billiards in Decatur as a prime watering hole with games to boot, but that hasn’t stopped Savannah Haseler, the restaurant’s executive chef, from churning out quality food. Earlier this year, she joined several local chefs to cook at the James Beard House in New York, and on Dec. 14, she’ll be participating in Steinbeck’s annual Hanukkah vs. Christmas dinner. Here she offers this Hanukkah-appropriate dinner that is too good to eat just once a year. If you’re entertaining a large group, make the apple butter and salad dressing in advance.

Serves 6 to 8

Apple Butter

5 pounds local apples, quartered, cored and thinly sliced
1 cup apple cider
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon kosher salt

In a large saucepan combine apples, cider, vinegar, brown sugar, nutmeg, allspice, and salt. Simmer on low, stirring occasionally, until apples are very soft, about 1 1/2 hours. Use food processor to puree mixture until smooth. Refrigerate up to seven days. This can be done one to two days ahead of dinner.

Date and Spinach Salad

2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
1 lemon, zested and juice reserved
1 teaspoon kosher salt
5 oz. baby spinach leaves
3 1/2 oz. Medjool dates, pitted and quartered

In a medium mixing bowl whisk together vinegar, oil, lemon juice, zest, and salt. Set aside until right before you serve dish. When ready to serve, add dates and spinach; toss until coated.

Parsnip Potato Latke

5 1/2 cups shredded Yukon gold potatoes
3 cups shredded parsnips
1/3 cup thinly sliced leeks, white part only
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
4 egg whites, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons corn starch
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
7 tablespoons grapeseed oil

Rinse and drain potato, drain and squeeze out excess liquid. Spread out on paper towel to dry. In a large bowl combine potato, parsnip, leeks, dill, parsley, egg whites, corn starch, salt, and pepper.

In a large frying pan heat butter and oil over medium-high heat. Use your hands to scoop, squeeze firmly and form small patties, and gently slide patties into pan, taking care not to splatter oil. It may splash so be careful. Fry until lightly browned, about 3 minutes on each side. Drain on paper towels.

Pan Roasted Trout

8 (4 oz.) trout filets, skin on
1 cup rice flour
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 sprig thyme

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a shallow bowl, combine flour, salt and pepper.  Set aside. In large sauté pan that can also go into the oven, melt butter until it starts to bubble, 1-2 minutes. Dip trout filets in the flour mixture, then turn to evenly coat entire surface. Place each filet skin side down into sauté pan. Cook 2 minutes and then carefully flip trout and immediately put in oven until fish is firm when gently pressed, 5-8 minutes.

To serve, spread about 2 tablespoons apple butter on each dinner plate. Top with 2 latkes, a trout filet, and salad.