What’s for dinner? Locally caught fresh rainbow trout

Story and Photos by Kathryn Jones

Editor

One of the desires on my “bucket list” is to camp by a clear mountain stream, catch a rainbow trout and cook it that very day.

Part of that has come true. I’ve camped and I’ve fished, but I’ve only prepared fresh trout after the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department stocked the Trinity River in Fort Worth and, earlier this week, the Paluxy River in Glen Rose.

My husband, Dan, and some friends from Dallas had marked our calendars for Thursday, Jan. 2, when TP&W was scheduled to deliver trout to the Paluxy. We happened to be driving through Paluxy Heritage Park that morning when the TP&W fish truck arrived just before noon. The driver told us he wasn’t sure where to put the fish, so we called the Somervell County Water District, which directed him to the boat ramp off Grace Street.

Special delivery: A thousand rainbow trout arrived in Glen Rose on Thursday.

Special delivery: A thousand rainbow trout arrived in Glen Rose on Thursday.

After backing the truck down the ramp, the driver took a reading of the river’s water temperature and oxygen level — they were very close to the ones at the Possum Kingdom hatchery where the fish had come from, he said. He attached a big white pipe to the outflow spout.

“Are you ready?” he asked. We were.

Out spewed a gush of water and 1,000 rainbow trout (you can see a short video we made by clicking here: Glen Rose Current Facebook page). The silvery, speckled fish glinted in the sun and wriggled in a frenzy in the shallows, then made their way into deeper water. We thanked the driver and began heading back to the car so the guys could go get their fishing poles.

“That’s the way it always goes — I make new friends and they take off as soon as the fish get here,” the driver said, laughing.

IMG_2722A couple of hours after setting up along the River Walk between the boat ramp and above the dam at Big Rocks Park, the guys had caught six trout. Rather than broil them with lemon and pepper, we all decided we wanted to do something a bit more special.

I got on the Internet and found a recipe for pan-fried trout amandine on the Williams-Sonoma website. It called for dredging the whole, gutted trout in flour, pan frying it, toasting slivered almonds and adding them to a butter sauce.

A side note: the trout are an average nine inches in length — some are longer, some shorter. For that size we didn’t fillet them and that worked out well because the tender meat was easy to pick from the flexible bones.

To complete the meal, I had made a mushroom risotto and a tossed salad. My friend Gayle had brought Meyer lemons from her tree and whipped up a light, citrusy lemon meringue icebox pie. It all made for a fabulous dinner that was even more special because the trout were so fresh and our guys had caught them.

IMG_2746The next day, the guys went to the river again and again brought back six trout. This time I found a recipe on epicurious.com that sounded good too– crispy trout in a lemon-caper sauce. It also was easy — just melting butter, whisking in fresh lemon juice — again from the Meyer lemon tree — and capers.

After pan-frying the trout crispy golden, I put a whole fish on each plate and spooned some of the sauce over the trout. We finished off the leftover risotto and I made another tossed salad and an apple pie for dessert.

IMG_2758Certainly, there are many ways to prepare trout, but pan-frying and then adding a sauce is one of the most delicious and easy ways — and the ingredients are all locally available. We wanted to share the recipes we found — please also share yours. The trout will be in the Paluxy for a while longer, so go get yours (hint: Power Bait seems to work better than lures).

Preparing these trout from the Paluxy was so much fun that I may have to rethink that item on my bucket list.

Williams-Sonoma’s Trout Amandine

(Download it at http://www.williams-sonoma.com/recipe/trout-amandine.html)

“It is important that the trout in this recipe (and any fish prepared in a fry pan on the stovetop) cook evenly. To ensure even cooking, when you turn the fillets, exchange those in the center, where the heat is most intense, with those near the sides of the pan. This recipe also works well with sole, flounder or tilapia.

Ingredients:

  • 4 trout fillets, about 1 1/2 lb. total
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley

Preparation:

Place the trout fillets on a plate and season on both sides with salt and pepper; set aside.

Heat a large fry pan over medium-low heat. Add the almonds and toast, stirring frequently, until they turn light tan, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Return the pan to medium-low heat. Spread the flour on a large plate and dip the fillets in the flour, coating both sides well and shaking off any excess. Add the olive oil to the pan and increase the heat to medium. Add the trout fillets, skin side up, and cook until browned, about 4 minutes. Turn the fillets over and cook until they flake easily near the tail ends, about 2 minutes more. Transfer the fillets, skin side down, to individual plates and keep warm.

Wipe any oil from the pan with a paper towel. Return the pan to medium heat and add the butter. When the butter has melted, add the lemon juice and parsley. Stir in the almonds and season the sauce with salt and pepper. Spoon the sauce over the fillets and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Series, Seafood, by Jay Harlow (Oxmoor House, 2007).”

Epicurious’ Crispy Trout with Lemon-Caper Sauce

(Download it at http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/member/views/CRISPY-TROUT-WITH-LEMON-CAPER-SAUCE-50068971#ixzz2pT3N0ah7)

Photo by Kathryn Jones

The finished dish

“The secret to a deliciously crispy trout is to rinse and then pat the fish dry completely before brushing it with oil and cooking it in a hot pan. Our sauce — made with tangy lemon juice, piquant capers and butter — is the perfect foil for the tender, flaky fish.

Ingredients:

* 4 Tbs. butter melted

* 1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice

* 1 Tbs. capers, drained and rinsed

* 4 (5- to 6-oz) trout fillets, skin on

* 1.5 tsp canola oil, plus extra for brushing fish

* Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preparation:

Whisk butter, lemon juice, and capers together in a mixing bowl until smooth.

Rinse trout under cold water and pat dry well with paper towels. Brush with oil and season with salt and pepper.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until rippling but not smoking. Add trout, skin side down (in batches if necessary) and cook for 3 minutes; turn and cook 1 minute longer. Remove from pan, top with lemon sauce, and serve hot. Serves 4.”

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