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Best way to cook rainbow trout?

Hello fellow chowhounders.

I am making Rainbow trout tonight for my man. I am thinking about just using salt, pepper and olive oil and oven cooking. I like tasting the fish. Any recommendations on other ways to cook/season it without killing the flavor?

This Rainbow trout is USA farmed. Good thick cut. Small scales.


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  1. You can also pan fry on low heat with butter and lemon juice.

    1. I sometimes stuff the cavity with a few sprigs of fresh dill when oven baking as you describe. I don't use lemon juice with fresh water fish.

      1. Also not a big fan of citrus and freshwater fish.
        I do like herbs in the cavity,dill,tarragon,chinese celery or parsley are my usual choices.

        1 Reply
        1. re: lcool

          I like the idea of the fresh herbs. Thank you.

        2. Dredged in flour, sauteed in butter, nothing better....

          3 Replies
          1. re: KSlink

            The taste of trout is superb but delicate. I prefer to dredge in flour (for crisp skin) and pan fry in a neutral tasteless oil. And leave the tail on, 'cause when cooked crisp it is delicious.

            1. re: KSlink

              I dip in milk for 5 minutes, then dredge in seasoned flour and saute it on both sides. Can remove the skin and center bone after cooking.

              1. re: classylady

                The Scots have a trout recipe where you dip the boned trout in milf [freudian slip] milk then into rolled oats then into a hot skillet with butter then brown on each side and serve.

            2. YEARS ago, when nephew was about 4-5, we went "fishing". Small-ish pojust teeming with trout... big enough to catch. Was a great outing for a little kid since he caught SEVERAL fish... ya paid by the fish! Kiinda gross, but he was enthralled when the heads kept moving after his Dad cut them off! Seem to remember, just S&P and into pan with butter/oil... and lemon to squeeze over.

              1 Reply
              1. re: kseiverd

                Thats a wonderful memory to have. I haven't fished much. That recipe sounds wonderful. Thanks!

              2. Grilled Japanese style (yakizakana, that is) of course! Salt on both sides quite heavily, and let sit for half an hour. Salt again, then grill for a few minutes on each side over a hot fire. Serve with a simple ponzu dipping sauce(start w/ equal parts lemon juice and shoyu and adjust to taste) and hot rice.

                1 Reply
                1. re: ricepad

                  I think this way, grilling over charcoal, is the best way to cook medium-sized whole fish. I like to add some scallion stalks and lemon slices in the belly cavity, then tie it up with butcher's twine so the stuffing doesn't fall out when I turn it.

                2. Trout was in heavy rotation during fishing season when I was growing up. My favorite was the way my best friend's dad would do it. He put the whole trout (gutted) in a foil packet with a little butter and fresh dill. The packet went on the grill to cook but there is no reason it couldn't be done in the oven.

                  1. I don't find the flavor of rainbow trout to be all that delicate. IOW, you can do plenty with it and still have it taste like trout.

                    Last I had I stuffed with green bell pepper, capers and ... well something else, something oddball I don't remember right now. pan fry without flouring, altho I often will flour.

                    1. It also depends on how picky your dinner guests are .

                      I have had guests who are grossed out by the white eyeballs. (More fish for those of us who love it.)

                      Oven baking is simple, dependable and works for a crowd.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: shallots

                        If you can't stand the eyeballs, you don't get the cheeks!

                      2. Just to throw out another idea (not for a trout dinner) .... I've smoked trout over the years. Served cold on crackers as an app. Wonderful. Rainbows & Cutthroats are great smoked.

                        1. Fishing is my father's favorite thing, so we always have fresh rainbow trout, We like to bring a pot of water with fresh lemon juice to a rolling boil then add the fish for 6-7 minutes. Remove from water and gently remove fins and slice down the back. Two perfect fillets. Eat like that with s&p or fry in evoo plain, floured or an herbed flour dredge. Yummy.

                          1. I've only ever cooked this lake-side in a hot campfire skillet with fried potatoes. But the butter and dill sounds good.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: printsprinter

                              I fish for rainbows and 'cutties' about once a week.
                              I keep family and friends supplied with fresh and cold smoked.Trout especially have a very delicate flavor.
                              In order to retain the flavor IMO it's important to not mask the flavor using such things as white wine/lemon juice/herbs during the cooking process.
                              After the fish has been very slowly and carefully cooked is the time to plate the plain fish with whatever sauces you want. But NOT directly on the fish. If you put down a couple of T's of the sauce first on the plate THEN carefully slide the cooked fish on top of the sauce the person enjoying the fish and sauce can eat each of them separately or together. I like to really taste the trout flavor with only a touch of the sauce.
                              I know this is 'inner-tennis' to some but it's the way I cook all delicate flavored foods.
                              When I cook whole trout I remove the head and scales then fillet.
                              Then into a very slowly simmering pan of plain water with a pinch of salt just to cover the fillets. I watch the fillets like a hawk and when the middle of the fillets are just barely starting to turn opaque I very carefully slid them out onto a parchment paper covered platter.
                              My sauce is already bubbling happily away. Three or four T's of the hot sauce onto a HOT plate then slide the fillet onto the sauce. Garnish with fine chopped watercress. IMO parsley is too strong a flavor. A few little lemon wedges and serve.

                            2. I've never enjoyed the taste of trout because, IMHO, there's no taste to enjoy. I'd wager that farm raised trout has even less flavor but I've never tasted it. Farm raised catfish, frog legs, etc. are nearly tasteless.

                              The best trout I've had are where ingredients are added to the trout that give it a flavor I like. That's the problem. What flavor(s) can you count on that everyone will like?

                              Don't get me wrong. I really like the taste of fish but trout is my least favorite. Bass is my second least favorite. Pan fish can knock your socks off with great taste; bluegill, crappie, goggle eye, etc. Even catfish is great tasting.

                              So, for the trout I'd just add some flavors your man likes.