Amandine Enhances Food Rom Appetizers to Desserts

Fish prepared in the amandine style
Fish prepared in the amandine style. Charles Islander/Getty Images

amandine

In the culinary arts, the word "amandine" (pronounced "ah-mahn-DEEN") refers to a dish that is served garnished with sliced, slivered or whole toasted almonds. Cookbooks in the United States have Americanized the term to almondine, but don't let that throw you. The two words mean the same thing.

Preparing Your Sauce

The basic procedure for preparing an amandine sauce is to melt whole butter in a small saucepan or sauté pan and heat until frothy, then add either sliced or slivered almonds.

Cook over low heat until the almonds are golden brown, and the butter has also slightly browned, but not burned. Then season with Kosher salt and a squeeze of lemon juice. If your almonds are already salted, cut down on the salt.

Note that whole butter is used rather than clarified butter because some degree of browning of the milk solids in the butter is desirable.

Cooks wit6h plenty of time on their hands produced their, amandine sauces using whole almonds, but it's much easier to just slit open a package of sliced or slivered almonds. If you start your amandine sauce with whole nuts, you want to blanch the shelled almonds first to remove the brown outer skin.

The Fish Course

If you're a freshwater fish aficionado, think of using white fish or trout. Either type is slightly sweet but solid enough to blend well with the almond taste.Saltwater fish choices can include sea trout, grouper, salmon or cod, among others. Tilapia is an inexpensive fish that works well, too.

Your fish can be fresh or frozen, it really doesn't matter, but you do want to bake it or fry it before adding the almondine topping.

Calling All Vegetables

Give your cooked greens and other vegetables extra oomph when you prepare them amandine style. Almost any vegetable, but especially green beans, asparagus, broccoli, celery, and cauliflower, work well with the almond sauce or topping.

Mix your vegetables in the amandine sauce rather than pouring the sauce over the veggies.

Picking Your Almonds

California produces far and away most of the world's almonds and is the only state that produces the fruit commercially. Although almonds are a fall crop, you can buy them almost any time of year. They are available in bulk or packaged, fresh or already blanched, with shells or without. Avoid nuts that seem off. Your almonds should never be bitter.

Storing Almonds

An amandine sauce does not extend the storage life of the food it's served with, so if you have leftover fish amandine style, don't let it sit in your refrigerator longer than four or five days.The same goes for your vegetables, but almonds themselves last a whole lot longer.

Unshelled almonds will last longer than the shelled ones. Once you open a package, squeeze out the air and keep the nuts in a cool, dry place. They will last up to three or four months in the refrigerator, longer in the freezer.

If the almonds are still in their shells, you can keep them in your cupboard away from sunlight, for a year or more.