Food blogs can be inspired in the strangest of ways. I was taking a shower and noticed my Head & Shoulders for dry scalp contains almond oil. Intrigued, I decided to do some research to see if there were any actual advantages to such an oil being in shampoo. Apparently, according to multiple beauty sites, the protein in almond oil helps cleanse and strengthen hair, and increases its elasticity.
As I paused to consider this idea, I glanced at my desk and spotted the can I keep next to my computer seven days a week. It's a can of Blue Diamond Smokehouse Almonds. Being surrounded by the things, I wanted to know more about them.
Almonds, or Prunus dulcis, are actually drupes (fruit containing a pit) rather than nuts. However, because it's the pit that we eat, we refer to them nuts. As luck would have it, the drupes in question are one of the healthiest foods a person can eat. In fact, the good people at Nuts.com supplied me with the following graphic outlining the health benefits of almonds.
Subject: Almond Chart | Source: Nuts.com |
Regular readers of this blog know I'm not going to eat something simply because it's good for me. Since I'm an out of the closet hedonist, a food has to taste good before I can get excited about it, and almonds definitely fit the bill.
Personally, I rely on them as a crunchy salty snack while I struggle to overcome writer's block. Others use the milk as a lactose free alternative to dairy. In addition to snacking and drinking, many people use almonds in a variety of desserts, including; Marji Stark's Scandinavian Almond Bars, Averie Sunshine's French Almond Cookie Cake with Apricot Cream Cheese Glaze, Almond Persimmon Cream Cheese Tart from Food52.com, and Annalise's Chocolate Almond Cake.
Not being a big dessert person myself, I prefer to use almonds in savory cooking. The drupes can be used in a stir fry or to encrust a chicken. However, in my mind, the most classic savory use for almonds is to put them over trout in Trout Almondine.
The average food snob will tell you, the dish was a 70s food fad and went out of fashion at the same time fondue and venison with cherry sauce left the popular mainstream. Yet, I see the rich French dish as a classic, and classics never go out of style.
I dug through my recipes, but couldn't find the Trout Almondine recipe I'd collected a decade ago. Luckily, I finally found one by Metallica_Band at Food.com, added a note regarding the need for whole butter, and posted it below.
by, Metallica_Band at Food.com
In a small bowl, melt the 1/3 cup butter in a microwave for approximately 30 seconds. Add almonds and heat, uncovered, in the microwave for 3 minutes or until lightly browned; stir occasionally. Set almonds aside. Arrange fish in a shallow, 10-inch, heat resistant, baking dish. Place 1 tablespoon of butter on each fish and sprinkle with lemon juice, salt, and pepper, to taste. Cover with wax paper and heat for 7 minutes or until the fish flakes easily with a fork. Spoon browned almonds over fish and heat, uncovered, in the microwave for 2 minutes or until heated thoroughly.
You want to use whole butter rather than clarified butter, because some degree of
browning of the milk solids in the butter is desirable.
Recipe prints as a single pages for your recipe file or refrigerator.