Thursday, June 3, 2010
This is based on my Dad's recipe. He used to fish for trout when I was growing up, and this is how I remember him cooking it. I absolutely love Dad's fried trout. So much so that I asked him to get me a vintage fish skinner just like his so I could make it for my family (I couldn't wait for visits to their house). The best part of the fried fish, in my mind, is the crispy fish tail and fins. Oh how my brother and I used to fight over them! Unless you grow up eating them, it's probably not something that would interest you to try, but believe me, you should. Sam has been eating this fish forever now, and is my current competition to share the tails and fins with. Thanks, Dad, for the wonderful memories of eating this fish growing up, and for this great recipe!
Fried Trout Recipe
1 large whole trout (approx 1.25 lbs) or 2 small whole trout
1 cup of cornmeal
1/4 cup of vegetable oil
Salt and pepper
I buy the whole trout already cleaned (stomach sliced open and guts removed) from the store, but they still need the heads removed and need to be skinned. Larger fish are harder to work with than smaller ones, so I usually prefer to buy 2 small ones.
To prepare the trout:
Wash off the trout. Hold the fish firmly by its body and cut off its head. Next, insert a very sharp fillet knife under the skin of the fish along its back to the dorsal fin (the top fin), and lift, cutting a slit in the skin. Insert the knife under the skin again from the dorsal fin all the way to the tail, and lift, completing the slit along its back. Use a vintage fish skinner to remove each side of the skin, leaving the tail and as many fins as possible (fins are harder to keep attached while skinning).
When done, put the cornmeal in a large plastic bag and put the fish into the bag, seal the bag, and shake until the fish is coated with the cornmeal. Now it is ready for frying.
In a large skillet, add the oil and heat to Med. High heat. The oil is hot enough when you drop a piece of cornmeal in it and it sizzles. Add the fish, then salt and pepper to taste. The fry time really depends on how thick the fish is. Generally, for a larger fish, fry on one side for 7 minutes, or until you see golden brown around the bottom edges. Use a spatula to turn the fish over and fry the other side for around 5-7 more minutes. When both sides are golden brown, the fish is done. Remove the fish from the pan and lay it on a paper towel to blot off the extra oil. Serves 2 adults (and one small child).
On a side note, this cornmeal fry method also works great for tilapia fillets and thinly sliced cod. This is cod: