Trout may not be the rarest of all fish—in fact, it’s commonly raised as food and are easily found in supermarkets. However, that’s not an excuse to forego being creative with this fish. After all, not all trout are created equal; you’d want to make the most out of an exceptionally flavorful trout.
Hence, instead of the usual frying and grilling, how else can you prepare trout? Here are some creative ideas:
- Cook the entire fish with everything on.
Admittedly, not all Americans cook fish with the head, skin, and bones still on, usually settling for pre-cut fillets bought at the supermarket. However, this can mean that they’re missing out on a lot of flavor that only these parts can provide. This is especially true for trout. Most of this fish’s flavor can be found from its skin and bones. In fact, when cooked well, its skin offers an exceptional crispiness.
If you’re wondering how to start cooking the entire fish, there are some recipes you can try out, such as this Oven Roasted Trout from Tomas Test Kitchen. This simple recipe only takes around 20 minutes to complete, from prep to cook time. And with the addition of lemons to season the entire trout, you get rid of the fishy smell while adding a light, tangy taste. That makes it the perfect spring or summertime dish.
- Learn how to dry cure your trout.
Ever wanted to bring out the full flavor of trout when cooking, while keeping it firm? Here’s the secret—dry curing. While it’s a technique originally used in serving sashimi, it’s also suitable for bringing the best out of any fish, even when using different cooking methods.
And it’s a pretty simple technique that even novices in the kitchen can use. Simply sprinkle an ample amount of salt all over the piece of trout, then cover it again with another layer of sugar. Let the piece rest on a plate and watch excess moisture seep out of the trout, making it firmer. After around 20 minutes, just wash off the salt and sugar in a bowl of ice water, then cook the trout in whatever way that you want.
- Use leftover trout in omelets.
Let’s say you’ve got leftover roasted or grilled trout from last night’s meal. While it’s good, you don’t exactly want to repeat the same meal for today’s lunch or dinner. That’s where the omelet comes in—you can simply repurpose the leftover trout as the filling, without the need to follow a complicated recipe.
After all, fish goes well in an omelet when it’s paired with a hard cheese like pecorino or parmesan. The cheese complements the roast or grilled flavor of the trout, adding a level of flavor that a simple egg-and-fish pairing won’t achieve. Herbs and spices such as green onion also add more nuances to the omelet flavor, lending it a more savory taste.
- Try creating candied trout.
Just like salmon, large lake trout can be candied and served as snacks. And making them isn’t too hard, skills-wise; all you need to have is enough time to follow the entire process. Simply get the collars, bellies, and fillets of trout then cut them up into thick, two-inch strips. Cure them in a 1:1 mix of kosher salt and brown sugar for 30 minutes to 3 hours. Then dry them in a breezy place for two hours or overnight in the refrigerator, uncovered.
Finally, they’re ready for cold smoking—paint them over with maple syrup every one-and-a-half or two hours. After around 3 to 8 hours of smoking, move the trout back to the drying racks and cool before storing.
- Smoke trout indoors.
Of course, the candied trout suggestion is aimed at those who already have the equipment and space for smoking fish. But what if you don’t have any equipment at all and simply want to try this cooking technique out?
Don’t worry, as you can try smoking trout fillets in the comfort of your own kitchen. Simply line a large, carbon-steel and not non-stick wok with enough foil to cover the entire thing. Then add rice and tea at the bottom of the wok to add flavor and prevent an overly smoked. Install a lightly oiled metal cooling rack inside the wok, as this is where we’ll place the fish.
Finally, place the trout fillets on the rack, put the wok over the flame, and cover the wok. Your DIY smoking rack is now complete!
As you can see, there are many other ways to cook trout other than frying. These options also show that you don’t need to waste any part of this delicious fish. So the next time you’re on a fishing trip and have caught some trout, or just simply thinking of what to buy at the grocery, go for trout—you’ll never regret it.