At last, everything you need to know about cooking trout. Warning: these trout recipes may cause excess salivation.
Spring is a cherished time of year by many. Nature in the American wilderness seems to reward us for our patience over the winter by delivering all sorts of wild edibles. And nothing goes better with foraged foods than tasty fresh fish.
There's not much that can hold a candle to a dinner of freshly caught trout. And we have saved you the hassle of scouring the internet to find delicious recipes worthy of such a prized fish.
First things first, you'll need to catch a trout. You can just use a spinning reel if that's all you have, but once you try fly fishing and tie your own flies, you'll be addicted. Though you can also use farm-raised fish for these trout recipes, part of the magic behind them is the story of sneaking up on these elusive predators lurking in deep pools.
- Cleaning - Remove the entrails by slicing the belly from the anus up to the throat. Use an old toothbrush to clean the blood from the vein along the backbone. Use cold running water to clean the fish thoroughly.
- Scaling - If it's a really large trout, it may help to scale the fish. There's no need to do so for smaller trout.
- Preparation - At this point, you can leave the fish as it is or remove the gills, head, or fins according to the recipe preparation. If you feel adventurous, you can even try butterflying the fish.
- Cooking - Don't worry about the bones. Fish that is properly prepared easily falls off the bones. Avoid over-handling the fish (flip only once) as the skin is delicate and the flesh may flake apart.
No matter how these 10 fresh trout recipes below are organized, each one seems better than the last. We advise you to keep a napkin or bib nearby as you read, because they may cause drooling.
They aren't all easy recipes, but they're all great to know the next time you catch a few. Enjoy!
1. Whole Grilled Trout
One of the easiest ways to cook trout, and most visually impacting, is to grill a whole trout. Fish like trout are rich in good fats, and really absorb the flavor imparted from grilling.
- Two 3/4 lb whole trouts, scaled, gutted and cleaned
- Butter or coconut oil
- 1 bunch fresh flat leaf parsley
- 1 bunch fresh dill
- Zest of one lemon
- 2 lemons, one turned into lemon slices and the other halved
- Salt and pepper to taste
2. Trout with Fiddleheads, Morels, and Wild Onions
This fish recipe is perfect to put all your freshly gathered wild edibles to good use in a forager's feast. This cooking method also produces very crispy skin if you leave it on. And let's be serious, why wouldn't you?
- 1/2 pound fiddleheads
- 1 1/2 to 2 pounds trout fillets (or 1 small trout per person)
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, divided
- 1 pound fresh morels, sliced into rings
- 1/2 pound ramps or other wild onions, or scallions
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 2 to 3 tablespoons sour cream
- 1 cup sorrel, cut into a chiffonade (optional)
- Black pepper
- Violets, for garnish (optional)
3. Grilled Lime Trout
This method is heavy on the herbs and uses limes or oranges instead of the traditional lemon. Grilling the citrus fruits also complements the trout's delicate flesh really well.
- 1 medium trout
- Herbs of choice (thyme, oregano, dill, rosemary, etc.)
- Lemon, lime, or orange, sliced
- 1 medium onion, sliced
- 4 cloves garlic
- Salt and pepper
4. Smoked Lake Trout
It's almost impossible to beat a well-smoked piece of trout or salmon. While you can smoke stream trout, this method of butterflying is best reserved for the larger individuals. Maybe save it for a nice-sized lake trout between 5 and 15 pounds. There's more cook time involved, but it's worth it.
- 1 whole lake trout, butterflied or kited
- 1/2 cup Kosher salt
- 1/2 cup chopped spruce (or fir) tips, or fresh rosemary
- Grated zest of an orange or 2 lemons or limes (optional if using rosemary)
5. Trout with Orange-Saffron Sauce
This is perhaps the most visually appealing presentation you can find for a thick-cut fillet of trout. The bright and bold colors complement the intense flavors and are perfect for a main course springtime meal.
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- A healthy pinch of saffron, crumbled
- A healthy pinch of sugar
- 1 shallot, minced
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Greens and Fish
- 1 1/2 pounds tender greens, such as spinach or amaranth or lamb's quarters
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter or vegetable oil, divided
- A splash of water, maybe 3 tablespoons
- Grated zest of an orange
- Salt to taste
- 1 1/2 pounds trout or salmon fish fillets
- Sprigs of pea or vetch flowers, for garnish (optional)
6. Roasted Trout with Lemon and Herbs
This one requires surprisingly little prep time, these whole trout absorb a lot of flavor from the garlic, onions, and fresh herbs. Then just let the lemon juice set it off.
- 2 whole trout, 10-12 oz each, cleaned and gutted
- salt, pepper
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 lemon, sliced
- 1-2 garlic cloves, sliced
- 1 small onion, very thinly sliced
- fresh dill and parsley
7. Trout Omelet
Using fish in an omelet may seem a little strange. But it's actually a perfect way to use up odd scraps from a larger trout you grilled or smoked the day prior.
- 6 eggs
- 2 cups fish flakes, cooked steelhead trout or salmon
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 minced green onion
- Salt and pepper to taste
- About 1/2 cup grated Pecorino or Parmesan cheese
- Butter to grease the ramekins
- 1 lemon
8. Roasted Trout with Potatoes and Asparagus
The baby potatoes and asparagus in this recipe work very well with the lemon and thyme-infused trout fillets.
- 1 pound baby new potatoes, halved
- 1 pound asparagus stalks, trimmed and cut in half crosswise
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 whole rainbow trout, gutted, and gilled
- Half a lemon, thinly sliced
- 1 bunch lemon thyme
9. Fried Trout with Peas
This recipe utilizes the butterfly technique, dredging the trout in flour and treating it almost as a schnitzel. Serve it alongside peas and a lemon-butter sauce to make it complete.
- 2 frying pan-sized trout (butterflied, fillets or whole)
- About 3/4 cup flour
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup peas, fresh or thawed
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- Grated zest and juice of a lemon
- 2 tablespoons minced parsley
- Black pepper to taste
10. Salmon/Trout Candy
Traditionally this is a salmon recipe, but larger trout species will also work just fine. Smoking works very well with trout since they are very fatty fish and the smoke adheres to fat. Warning: they're called candy for a reason. They won't last long!
- 5 pounds skin-on salmon/trout collars, bellies or fillets cut into 2-inch thick strips
- 1 pound kosher salt
- 1 pound brown sugar
- 1 cup maple syrup or birch syrup
Doesn't matter which one you choose...how about you make all 10?
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