Fish Fillets With Pistachio "Stuffing"

Course : Fish
Serves: 4
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3 tablespoons butter
2 small shallots -- minced
2/3 cup shelled pistachios -- coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups fresh bread crumbs -- * see note
4 fillets portions of fish fillets (trout -- salmon, or sole)
1/2 medium lemon -- juice only
1 piece bay leaf
1 teaspoon salt

Preparation / Directions:

* Note: Good fresh crumbs can make all the difference in a dish. It may be very little things which make a fine cook, but one is the secret of keeping a loaf of sliced home-style bread in the freezer. Pepperidge Farm makes a particularly good one. These slices thaw in minutes, to be trimmed of crust and whirled in a food processor for superb crumbs. If a recipe calls for fine crumbs, you can dry these out in a very slow oven (they shouldn't brown) and then process again. Melt butter in a frying pan set over medium heat. Add shallots and cook a few minutes, then add pistachios and cook another minute. Stir in bread crumbs until they absorb the butter, then cook a few minutes more until the crumbs start to turn golden. This can be made ahead an hour or so and reheated. Poach fillets in a little water seasoned with lemon juice, bay leaf, and a pinch of salt. Very thin delicate fillets will take only a minute or so. Remember James Beard's timing for fish: 10 minutes cooking time for each inch of thickness and you can't go wrong. While the fish cooks, reheat the stuffing. Lift the fillets onto warm plates with a slotted spoon. Sprinkle the stuffing on top and serve immediately. Comments: Not only is this stuffing delicious, it stays crisp rather than going soggy, as stuffings that are actually inside the fish tend to do. It also needs no salt, remember, because of the saltiness of the nuts. Feel free to garnish with lemon slices or wedges, and a tuft of parsley for color, though the fish doesn't really need a squirt of lemon for ta

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