last updated on : 05.02.2012
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HOW TO: spacer HOW TO EAT A NATIVE BROOK TROUT
Copyright:  Mike Sillett

Contents:

1. Intro
2. Materials
3. Kitchen Equipment
4. Procedure

photo of a native brook trout - Pennsylvania, early Spring.

1. Intro

Keep it simple is the best advice for cooking native brook trout.

What's the difference between the flesh of native brook trout and those trout that are stocked each year?
It's the same difference found between free roaming chickens and those raised on a chicken farm - the food.

At the trout hatchery the trout are fed pellets. Try to figure out what the feed pellets are composed of. Good luck.
The pellet producers are constantly changing and experimenting with different ingredients. Both the food producers and the hatchery operators want the trout to get to 'stocking size' as fast as possible.
They want a lot of good sized trout to come from the hatchery with the least expense involving feed.

It is obvious, when the flesh of the fish is seen after cleaning, that there is a major difference.
The native trout will have flesh that is pink ( like it should be ) whereas the stocked trout will have plain looking fish flesh. The diet is the difference.

That little native brookie has fought hard to find every little scrap of food that is in the creek where it lives. It's flesh is more lean and made up of nutriments composed of living entities that it sought and fought for. Such things as smaller fish, crustaceans, waterborne flying insects and/or their larvae.

If you want to eat really good tasting trout ( which includes salmon ) get the wild ones where possible.


2. Materials

Native brook trout.
1 or 2 tablespoons of cooking oil ( Canola, Sunflower or Safflower oils are good choices because they do not have much of an influencing flavor and they have a high smoke point ).
a couple of pads of butter


3. Kitchen Equipment

A frying pan,
A fork


4. Procedure

Eviserate the trout. Remove head and gills also.
Wash the trout inside and out with fresh, cold running water. Set it on a paper towel and dry surfaces off so that when you place the trout in hot oil it does not spatter. That's it. There is no scaling or skinning. The skin in fact is a bonus when done right.

Put a couple of tablespoons of oil in the skillet. Set heat to Medium.
When the oil in the skillet is hot enough add the butter.

photo of the butter and oil getting together in the frying pan.
Get the oil hot and then add the butter until melted.

When the butter starts to sizzle mix it with the oil and then add the trout. I like the trout to cook without the head. Others may wish otherwise.

Start timing the frying. On native trout of around 9 to 11 inches it should be no more than 2 or 3 minutes on each side. Start checking after two minutes, not until then. You want a light brown on the fried side.

photo of native brook trout cooking on the first side.
Mix the butter with the oil real good then fry trout on Medium - 2 to 3 minutes on each side.

 

It should look something like the picture below.
Do the same thing on the second side as you did on the first.

photo of native brook trout frying on second side.
Second side cooking. First side nice and light brown.


Get rid of the oil and butter in the skillet and cook an egg.
A toasted english muffin goes well with this.

photo of cooked native brook trout on the plate with fried egg and toasted, buttered english muffin.
Great with a fried egg and english muffin.

Split the fish open by sticking the fork into the area where the dorsal fin is and lifting and sliding along the backbone as you do. It should come apart easily allowing you to lay the fish open on the plate showing the bones inside.

photo showing the trout split open to reveal all the cooked pink flesh.
Thr trout flesh has been separated and the skeleton is ready to be lifted off.

If you cooked it correctly, that is, if is done just right, and if you separated the sides correctly you will have one side of the fish with no bones and another side with all the bones.
Grab the bones from the end and lift out. They should come off en masse like shown below.This will leave two halves of the trout ready to devour. Savor the fine flavor as you do.
Savor the crispy skin.
Enjoy the tailfin just as it is. One of the best bits.

One last thing.
It is great to enjoy native brook trout on occasion but keep in mind, in southwestern Pennsylvania they are a limited resource in many places - so go easy on them.
I usually limit myself to just two trout when I go after them, and then only those that swallow the hook - which often happens quickly since native brookies are voracious.

photo demonstrating the removal of the skeleton after cooked trout has been split open.
The skeleton comes off very easy. Just lift.


HOW TO EAT A NATIVE BROOK TROUT

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