Please note: Eileen Goltz is a freelance kosher food writer. The Orthodox Union makes no endorsements or representations regarding kashrut certification of various products/vendors referred to in her articles, blog or web site.
There is really nothing like fresh caught fish for a perfect meal. “Simple is best when you prepare fresh” is my motto. A little bit of seasoning, herbs, nuts or spices and you’ve got yourself a real meal that’s not only fresh-tasting but oh-so-good for you.
Trout is a great choice if you’re just getting started cooking fresh fish. You can cook it whole, with the skin on, or filet it. While the movies may show gruff and hearty outdoorsy kind of folks chopping heads off and filleting with a flick of a knife, it’s a tad more involved. (This process can, of course, be used for filleting most any kind of fish.)
First wash the fish off and place it on a clean surface. Your knives need to be clean and SHARP. Cut off the head just below the gills and then slit open the belly and remove the guts (yes, this is icky, just do it). As this is a messy job, make sure you have plenty of water to rinse the trout. You can cook the fish at this point or you can butterfly it.
To butterfly the trout, flip your trout upside down so the belly is facing up. Starting on one side of the fish, cut where the head used to be and slide the knife as close as you can get to the backbone and cut along the rib cage. Repeat the process on the other side, as close to the ribs as possible. Now it’s time to take out the backbone. Using your knife and starting at the head end cut underneath the backbone towards the tail, lifting the spine as you cut. Try not to cut through the skin. You have a butterflied trout but there are still more bones. You will see them on each side. You can remove the bones out by cutting as close to them as possible trying not to cut the skin.
If you can’t get the fresh stuff, you can use the fresh frozen or fresh-ish stuff from your grocery or specialty store. The following trout recipes can be used with other fish but, like I said, catch whatever kind you like best for the freshest bestest flavor.
PECAN PAN-FRIED TROUT WITH BROWNED BUTTER (fish and dairy)
- 1 /4 cup oil
- 1 cup pecans, finely chopped
- 1 cup fresh challah or panko breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley*
- Salt and ground black pepper
- 4 (6- to 8-oz.) skin-on trout fillets
- Lemon wedges, for garnish
Pecan Brown Butter
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1 lemon
- 1/4 cup chopped pecans
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- Salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 200°F. Brush a rimmed baking sheet with oil and place in the oven to warm.
- In a bowl combine the pecans, breadcrumbs, and parsley and season with salt and pepper. Press the flesh side of each fillet into the pecan mixture.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Place 2 trout in the pan, crust side down, and cook until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn and cook until fish is opaque in the center and just cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Transfer the trout to the prepared baking sheet, crust side up. Place the baking sheet in the oven.
- Repeat the process with the remaining 2 Tablespoons of oil and the remaining 2 trout fillets.
- Transfer to warmed serving plates and serve immediately, garnished with the lemon.
Pecan Brown Butter
- Wipe the skillet clean. Add 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter and melt over medium heat. Allow the butter to foam and turn medium brown, swirling in the pan occasionally.
- Remove the pan from the heat, add the finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon, 1/4 cup chopped pecans, and 1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley; season with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Place the trout, crust side up, on warmed serving plates. Drizzle with the pecan butter.
Modified from epicurious.com.
EMERIL LAGASSE TROUT IN A POUCH WITH HERBS AND GARLIC (fish)
I absolutely love this fresh herb (and you must use fresh for the best flavor) and fish recipe. The flavors meld and the garlic add a subtle delightful note to the dish.
- 6 small whole trout, about 1 pound each, cleaned and scaled
- 6 pieces aluminum foil, about 16 by 16-inches
- 1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 lemons, sliced crosswise
- 12 cloves garlic, thinly sliced, divided
- 12 sprigs fresh rosemary, divided
- 12 sprigs fresh Italian parsley, divided
- 12 sprigs fresh mint, divided
- 12 sprigs fresh marjoram or oregano, divided
- 1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons dry white wine, divided
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Rinse fish well inside and out and pat dry with paper towels.
- Place 1 fish in the center of each square of aluminum foil. Rub each fish with 1 Tablespoon of the olive oil on both sides, then season the fish both inside and out with salt and pepper.
- Stuff the cavities of each fish with lemon slices, 2 cloves of the sliced garlic, and 2 sprigs each of the rosemary, parsley, mint, and marjoram.
- Fold all of the edges of the foil upwards to create a bowl-shape, and then drizzle each fish with 2 Tablespoons of the remaining olive oil and 3 Tablespoons each of the white wine. Fold the top and side edges together tightly so that the fish is completely enclosed in an airtight package.
(Fold the edges downward so that the fish is tightly contained.)
- Place the pouches on a large baking sheet and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the fish is just cooked through and flakes easily when pierced with a fork.
Serve the fish immediately in shallow rimmed dinner plates or large shallow bowls, with the collected juices drizzled over the fish.
Modified from Emeril Lagasse, 2007 Food Network.
BOURBON GRILLED TROUT AND PORTABELLAS (fish)
- 2 to 3 large skinned trout fillets, cut into large pieces
- 2 to 3 portabella mushrooms, sliced
- 1/3 cup soy sauce
- 1/3 cup bourbon
- 1 cup water
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Wild rice for 4, cooked according to package directions
- In a glass bowl combine all of the ingredients. Mix to coat then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour but not more than 3.
- Lightly grease a grill pan and heat over medium heat.
- Remove the trout and mushroom pieces from the marinade (discard the marinade) and grill for about 4 to 5 minutes per side (you may need less time for the mushrooms as you just want them to start to cook, not wilt too much).
Serve immediately over the rice.
My files, source unknown.
TROUT MARSALA (fish and dairy)
- 2 lbs. of trout, skinned and cut into pieces
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 lb. sliced baby portabellas
- 1 1/2 cups Marsala Wine
- 1 stick butter or margarine
- 1 cup flour
- Cooked rice or noodles
- Heat the butter or margarine in a large skillet. Add the onion, garlic and mushrooms and saute till tender.
- Dredge the trout in the flour and add the pieces to the vegetables that are cooking in the skillet. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring and flipping the trout pieces at least once.
- Gently pour 1 cup of the wine around the edges of the pan. Mix gently. Cook, uncovered for 4 to 5 minutes.
- Remove the trout to the serving platter and then add the remaining wine to the pan and cook, stirring vigorously to get all the little bits off the bottom of the pan.
- Pour the sauce over the fish and serve with rice or noodles.
My files, source unknown.
GRILLED SESAME PINEAPPLE TROUT (fish)
Servings: 4 – 6
- 2 lbs. of trout fillets, each fillet cut in half
- 3 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 3 Tablespoons sesame oil
- 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 Tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
- 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 fresh pineapple, peeled, cored, quartered and cut into slices/wedges
- 2 Tablespoons sesame seeds
- 4 scallions (green onions), sliced thin
- 2 to 3 Tablespoons toasted pine nuts (more if you like)
- In a large glass bowl combine the lime juice, sesame oil, brown sugar, ginger, and soy sauce. Mix to combine and add the trout and pineapple pieces. Mix to coat and cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Heat a grill pan or grill. Remove trout pieces and pineapple pieces from the marinade and discard the marinade.
- If you’re using a grill: make a foil pan by using 2 pieces of aluminum foil, folding up the edges on all sides. Grease it with cooking spray. Place trout fillets in the aluminum pan and then place that on the hot grill. Cook covered for 6 to 7 minutes.
- If using a grill pan: grease it with a little oil and then cook the trout covered. After the trout has been cooking for 6 to 7, minutes add the pineapple to the grill or pan. Cook covered on the grill pan if using the grill pan. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes then flip the fish and the pineapple. Cook for another 4 to 5 minutes, then remove the pineapple from the grill and place it on the serving platter. Cook the fish another minute or two until it’s done.
- Arrange the fish and pineapple on the serving platter and garnish with sesame seeds, green onions and pine nuts.
Modified from about.com.
MOCK CRAB STUFFED TROUT (fish)
- 4 whole trout (about 6 oz. each), cleaned and boned
- 1 Tablespoons + 1 teaspoon soy sauce, divided
- 5 to 6 oz. imitation crab meat, shredded
- 1/2 to 1 cup fresh bread crumbs
- 1/2 to 2/3 cup shredded carrot
- 1/4 to 1/3 cup thinly sliced celery
- 1/4 to 1/3 cup thinly sliced green onions
- 1 can water chestnuts, drained and diced
- 1 egg, beaten
- 2 Tablespoons white wine
- 1 Tablespoon grated lemon peel
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- Olive oil or sesame oil for brushing
- Lemon slices (optional)
- Chopped fresh parsley (optional)
Preheat oven to 375. Line a lipped baking pan with foil and spray it with a non stick spray. Place them on the prepared pan and set them aside. Brush insides of the fish with the 1 teaspoon of soy sauce. In a bowl combine the remaining soy sauce, crabmeat, bread crumbs, carrot, celery, onions, egg, wine, lemon peel, garlic powder and pepper. Mix to combine. Divide the stuffing between the trout, stuffing each fish pretty full. Brush the top of each fish lightly with the oil and bake, uncovered for 30 minutes or done and the fish is firm to the touch. Garnish with lemon slices and chopped parsley.
Submitted by Sharon Bussle of Milwaukee, WI.
*Certain produce requires careful examination for insects. For more information, please visit OU Fruit and Vegetable Inspection Chart and check out the newly released OU Manual for Checking Fruits and Vegetables.
Eileen Goltz is a freelance kosher food writer who was born and raised in the Chicago area. She graduated from Indiana University and the Cordon Bleu Cooking School in Paris. She lectures on various food-related topics across the U.S. and Canada and writes weekly columns for the Chicago Jewish News, kosher.com and the OU Shabbat Shalom Website. She is the author of the Perfectly Pareve Cookbook (Feldheim) and is a contributing writer for the Chicken Soup for the Soul Book Group, Chicago Sun Times, Detroit Free Press and Woman’s World Magazine. You can visit Eileen’s blog by clicking: Cuisine by Eileen.