How to Cook Trout

How to Cook Trout

By Anthony T Lee

Trout are beautiful fish. Alive, they adorn a clean river, and are easily seen if the water is clear or they can be found in lakes. Trout farms can be found in many places where for a small fee you can catch your own trout with a rod and line. If buying from a farm try to find an organic one for the best tasting and healthiest fish.

Although high in cholesterol, trout contain an abundance of vitamins and minerals and, being an oily fish, they have almost 1700 mg of Omega 3 acids.

Trout can be easily and quickly grilled, fried, baked, poached and even smoked.

The fish must be properly cleaned before cooking. Make an incision from just below the gills to near the tail with a sharp filleting knife.

Remove all the internal organs and discard. Cut off the fins with kitchen scissors.

Run the back of a knife down the sides to remove any loose scales but trout are not very scaly usually. Wash the fish under running water to clean inside and out. Then dry thoroughly everywhere.

Season the fish by cutting two slits across each side and rub a little salt into the gashes. Rub some salt inside the belly and insert some thin half slices of lemon and a bay leaf.

The fish can be grilled outdoors over charcoal, under a hot grill or broiler or on a griddle pan on the oven range. The grilling time is about 5 minutes for each side after which check that it is fully cooked by sticking the point of a thin knife in the flesh, if not grill for a further minute each side.

To grill over charcoal first light the charcoal and let it burn until the ashes are grey. Prepare the trout but brush the fish and the rack with oil and then put the fish over the coals. Watch the cooking carefully to check that the skin is not burning and turn the fish at least twice during the next 6 minutes. Do the knife test as above.

The same technique applies to a griddle pan. First heat the griddle pan until very hot then brush it with a little oil. Brush the trout with oil and place on the pan. After 1 minute turn the fish over and after another minute turn the heat down and cook for 5 minutes each side until the knife test show it is completely cooked

To cook under a grill or broiler follow the same method, making sure the grill is fully hot first. Place the fish in a grilling pan on a rack about 4 inches below the heat for about 5 to 6 minutes and then do the same knife test.

Fry trout in a wide heavy pan. Melt some butter in the pan and add a little oil, until hot but not brown. Do not brush oil on the fish first. Put the trout in the pan slowly and carefully to avoid hot fat spitting at you.

Leave it at a high heat for 1 minute, then turn it and after a minute reduce heat for a further 4 minutes each side. Then insert the blade of a thin knife and pull up the flesh a little to check that it is fully cooked. If it is not continue cooking for another 1 to 2 minutes and then check again.

Trout are good to eat poached, hot or cold. Use a fish kettle or other pan long enough. Add sliced onions, crushed garlic, a bay leaf and some fresh herbs such as dill, tarragon or parley, some salt and black pepper corns.

Then pour in a cup of water and a cup of dry white wine like sauvignon blanc or semillion and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down so that the court bouillon, as it is called, simmers for at least 30 minutes.

Do not brush the trout with oil or slash the sides. Add the fish carefully after the simmering time and turn the heat up again until the liquid is boiling then reduce to a simmer for 4 minutes.

Then turn the heat off and leave the trout in the court bouillon for another 4 minutes,after which remove it to a plate. If the trout is to be eaten cold put in a container in the fridge after it has cooled for 6 hours or more.

To bake trout first heat the oven to 180C. Lightly oil an ovenproof dish and lay sliced onions and garlic together with some herbs at the bottom. Slash and season the trout and add the aromatics inside.

Place it on top of the vegetables and add a little white wine or fish stock. Put a large knob of butter on top of the trout, then cover with a lid or some foil. Bake for 20 minutes, then test for with a knife.

Trout are best served with glazed new potatoes and a green vegetable, such as spinach, peas or asparagus.

For maximum flavour all fish and meat should be cooked on the bone. Steam the vegetables whenever possible to retain most of the nutrients.

A cold Chablis or Chardonnay or a lightly chilled pinot noir will go well with trout.

Anthony Lee is British and has been living in the Philippines for 15 years. He is a keen amateur chef and likes shopping for fresh ingredients in markets.

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