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» How To Cook Fresh Trout

How Did I Do It? > Food & Drink > How To Cook Fresh Trout
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No matter which recipe you try, fresh trout makes a great dish!
No matter which recipe you try, fresh trout makes a great dish!

Since last weekend was Family Trout Fishing Day, we had a good bunch of fresh Rainbow trout to cook up on Saturday night. The main key is always to cook your trout as soon as possible after the catch; this will ensure you get the best taste and full flavor of the fish.

We Have Fresh Trout on the Menu Tonight

I have eaten trout cooked a lot of different ways over the years. So I thought it would be worth looking over a number of trout recipes and try to get a consensus between everyone on the best way to cook our fresh-caught Rainbow trout.

After a lucky day at a local Trout Farm (well you really can’t have an unlucky day in one of these places!), we had a dozen or so Rainbow trout ranging from six to seventeen inches, so we tried several different recipes and let people try each. The kids weren’t all excited but everyone gave the fish a try and found it pretty tasty!

Here are several popular trout cooking methods and recipes to try:

Throw Your Trout Doggies on the Camp Fire

When I was young we used to go fishing at a pond and nearby streams on my grandfather’s place in the Rocky Mountains just west of Fort Collins, Colorado. Way up in the high country of the Rockies, one year the pond froze over and he lost a bunch of prized trout in the 20 inch size range. But every summer we’d fish that pond and the small brook that fed into it.

My grandfather particularly loved the little Brook trout we caught there and would simply put a bit of butter, salt and pepper on the fish, wrap them in aluminum foil and put them on the hot coals. I think this is still one of the best trout recipes; basic and you get the purest taste of fresh trout. If you don’t have a camp fire, just put some charcoal in your grill instead.

Fry Those Rainbow Trout Rolled in Cornmeal

Grand Dad always left the heads on. “He liked to eat the eyeballs best,” I said to the kids. “Nice and crunchy he always told us”. Ooohhhhhhhh ….. Yuck ….. What do they taste like?” The kids were at once mortified and fascinated that he would eat the eyeballs. Needless to say, none of them asked to try eating the trout fisheyes.

My father preferred to cut the heads off before pan-frying them, usually rolled in cornmeal with lemon, dill, salt and pepper seasonings. This is another of my favorite ways to cook fresh trout; switch up the seasonings, add some fresh cucumber, butter, lemon, capers and dill … whatever seasonings you like best will probably work just fine. Here is one we tried that was quite delicious:

Simple, pan-fried Rainbow trout is still one of the most popular ways to prepare fresh trout.
Simple, pan-fried Rainbow trout is still one of the most popular ways to prepare fresh trout.

Pan-Fried Trout with Herb Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 large trout, cleaned and filleted
  • 1 cup flour
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Splash of white wine (preferably sauvignon Blanc)
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 3 tablespoons fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley, chopped fine
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped fine
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons butter

Instructions to Pan Fry Trout:

  1. Gently roll the trout fillets in flour and shake off the excess.
  2. Heat olive oil in a medium-size frying pan over medium-high heat.
  3. Season the trout with salt and pepper and put them into the pan to cook until they’re golden brown on both sides; only about 7 to 8 minutes total on medium heat, depending on the size of your trout; you want the fish to be cooked so that it begins to flake but isn’t falling off the bones, which can make it difficult to separate the bones.
  4. Remove fish from the pan, set aside and then deglaze the pan with a little white wine, fresh lemon juice and herbs.
  5. Sauté for about one minute to cook the herbs and infuse your fresh trout with their aromatic oils, being careful not to burn them. Remove the pan from the heat, add in the butter. Pour the butter sauce over your trout to give them a little more taste!

Broiling Your Fresh Trout

For a slightly more gourmet trout dish, we tried broiling some of the fish stuffed with pine nuts and rice with roasted red peppers, and fennel. The trick with this recipe is how to actually “stuff” the trout. While the rice stuffing ended up mostly on the side, it was delicious and turned out to be one of the favorites of our crew. Here’s how we prepared the trout:

Ingredients:

  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 2 large red bell peppers cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips
  • 1 large fennel bulb, thinly sliced, 1/4 cup fronds chopped
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup cooled cooked white rice (about 1/3 cup uncooked)
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
  • 2 3/4- to 1-pound whole boneless trout

Trout Broiling Instructions

  1. Heat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick and spread the peppers, veggies and fennel on the baking sheet and pour a little vegetable or olive oil over the vegetables. Season to taste and roast until the vegetables are slightly brown, giving them a stir now and then to brown evenly; should take about 25 minutes.
  3. Mix rice, pine nuts and 1/4 cup chopped fennel fronds in bowl and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Take the baking sheet out of the oven and place the browned veggies on the sides, put your trout in the middle and season the inside of the trout with salt and pepper, then use a spoon to put some stuffing inside each fish and fold to enclose the stuffing inside.
  5. Put the baking sheet back into the oven and roast until the trout are opaque; about 15 or 20 minutes depending on the size of your trout. If you have left over stuffing, you can put that on the side with each dish.
     

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