Butter browned trout: delicious and easy to prepare

James Cooper's picture

What fish has inspired so much art as the trout? It is no wonder that people love to catch and eat this delicious freshwater fish. Here is a simple but delicious recipe.

Schubert’s lovely lied “Die Forelle” (The Trout) is about a trout splashing in the water and the fisherman who tries to catch him. The English lyrics start out

In a bright little brook
there shot in merry haste
a capricious trout:
past it shot like an arrow.

You can listen to the famous German lieder singer Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau sing it here.

Schubert also wrote a quintet for piano, violin, viola, cello and bass and wrote a set of variations based on Die Forelle for the fourth movement. The piece is usually called the Trout Quintet. And to top it off, the Samsung 5451 dryer plays this theme when the clothes are dry!

Getting on to real trout, the most common type in the US are called Rainbow Trout and can easily be caught by amateur anglers. In Connecticut where we live, the local streams are stocked each year beginning in March by the Department of Environment Protection.

But trout are also available in most fish markets and many supermarkets already cleaned and filleted. Most fish market trout are farmed in the US, and these are rated as a Best Choice by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch. They note that

Most U.S. trout are farmed inland in flow-through systems, which consist of raceways, ponds or tanks with continuously flowing water, and escape and pollution problems are generally well-controlled.

Cooking Trout

Cooking trout is so simple you can almost do it without any instruction. We more or less followed Mark Bittman’s book How to Cook Everything.

• 1/2 cup cornmeal
• 2 trout
• 3 Tb butter or olive oil
• Salt and pepper
• Grated lemon zest
• Tartar sauce

1. Place the cornmeal on a plate and roll the trout in cornmeal on both sides. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Melt the butter in a skillet and brown the trout for about 4 minutes.
3. Turn and brown the other side for about 4 minutes more, until the flesh is firm and starts to flake.
4. Place each trout on a serving plate, top with grated lemon zest and a dollop of tartar sauce,

We suggest serving the trout with a little grated lemon zest and that delicious tartar sauce we’ve recently written about. You’ll find it tasty and moist, we we’ve found that children take to it pretty quickly compared to other seafood. And right now, farmed trout are a bargain. We bought ours for less than $7 a pound.

While you can cook the trout in olive oil instead, good EVOO’s lose their flavor when heated, while brown butter adds a lovely taste.

You can easily serve this trout for a weekday meal. We served our trout with peas and home fries. You can see a few more pictures of our trout here.

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