As some of you readers may recall, my brother did a guest post about a year ago on how to cook trout, fresh from the lake. On my most recent trip to the Poconos last week, my father and I went fishing and he caught several BIG trout! (I also caught a pickerel but we through it back because evidently they’re not good for eating).
My father cleaned the trout, which is something I have still yet to learn; my brother provides simple directions on his guest post. We decided to cook up two of them as an appetizer for family dinner that evening, and we froze another. With some direction from my brother, I offered to cook the fish while he went on a quick evening fishing trip with his buddy.
While my brother likes to remove the head and tail during the cleaning of the fish, my father prefers to leave them on. So – lucky me – I got to remove the head and tail before prepping to cook! This sounds a lot easier than it is. First of all, you need a very sharp knife to provide a clean cut. If you don’t have a sharp knife on hand, a serrated knife will make a good substitute but the cut will be a little mangled (and still taste the same!). You should use a paper towel or dish towel to have a steady hold on the slippery little sucker before making your cuts. Cut right below the gill, and if you leave a little bit of the gill you can use a paring knife to remove it.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Generously cover each fillet with Canola oil and the juice of one lemon. In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup of flour and 2-3 tablespoons of Old Bay seasoning. Evenly pat on the flour mixture on both sides of the fillet. Spread some softened butter on the inside of the fish (optional if trying to be a little more healthy). Season with extra Old Bay or garlic powder if desired.
Heat a large non-stick pan over a medium-high flame. Once hot, add the fish and pan fry on each side for about 3 minutes, or until browned but not burnt. Transfer the fish to an oven pan covered in tin foil and cook in the oven for about 15 minutes. Remove and use a paring knife to slice down the closed side of the fish and remove the spine. This way there will be fewer bones while eating it. Transfer to a platter and serve with lemon wedges.
In my family, we just put out a bunch of forks and plates (which often don’t get used) and let people pick at the fish. It’s pretty casual, after all. You can eat the skin, but some of it is a little slimy so beware!
The fish tasted as fresh as can be, and was cooked to near perfection if I do say so myself. We enjoyed the trout with a splash of Grüner Veltliner, followed by a Mumm DVX Rose to toast to our cousin on his recent engagement. Both were delicious pairings, but I preferred the sparkler.
Thanks father for catching the trout, brother for providing direction, and mother for helping in the kitchen. I love family collaborations!