Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Cooking Trout--A Good Day Fishing

This post is not for the squeamish. If you don't like seeing your food in the shape of the original animal, this is not for you (I know you're out there). However, if you want to know about the easiest way to cook and debone trout, read on.

We had a fantastic day fishing with some friends Saturday. The kids caught lots of fish. Mom put lots of worms on hooks, swapped lures out, fixed snagged lines, helped the little one cast, unhooked fish, and finally got to throw my own line out a few times. As luck would have it, I only brought one to shore that was a bit too small, so he got to go back. However, there were plenty of other fish caught, and you know the rule, "you catch it, you clean it" so that left me with exactly zero fish I had to clean :)

So after you clean your trout, there's a variety of ways to prep it for cooking and cook it. I'm all for easy, so here's how I do it:

Step 1, lay the cleaned fish on the cutting board.
Step 2, get a sharp knife and cut the head off. Dispose of the head properly. Do NOT put the pile of heads up the hill behind the bush where your daughter will go that night to take care of business and put her hand in the pile of fish heads in the dark. Nobody needs that kind of panic. Put them farther away from camp than that! (Yeah, mom, I know, you didn't know I'd be using that bush.)
Step 3: Get a piece of foil and lay your fish on it.
Step 4: Season the outside and inside of the fish. Lemon pepper is good. I'm really liking RealSalt's organic season salt on my fish lately.
Step 5: Wrap the fish up in the foil and seal the ends.
Yes, it still looks like a fish. Except it now looks like a fish wrapped in foil. See the fins with red arrows in this next picture? Those will all come off after it cooks--they're actually a good indicator of doneness, kind of like a turkey timer. The tail will stick to the skeleton and you won't have to worry about that either. Hang on, you'll see how it's done.
Step 6: put all the little fish packets on the grill. Or in the oven, or over the coals, or whatever heat you have.
Step 7: cook them about 10 minutes per side. This will depend on the size of fish and the heat of your coals. Don't get distracted like I did and overcook them. Well, actually it didn't hurt them much, the skin just stuck to the foil so they weren't as pretty.

Step 8: AFTER the fish is cooked, pull those red arrowed fins out the direction of the fin lines and they'll pull their little bones out with them. If they don't come out easy, the fish needs to cook longer. If they fall apart as they are pulled out you cooked it a bit too long (like mine).
Step 9: After pulling out the fins, lay the fish on your plate (I just left this in the foil--we weren't ready to eat yet) and locate the vertebrae.
Grab the vertebrae at the neck with one hand and use your fork to knock the fish down onto your plate with the other hand (tough to get a picture of that).
If your fish isn't overcooked, it comes apart from the bones a little nicer than these pictures show. Keep pushing the meat down with your fork and lifting the skeleton until you reach the tail which should leave a nice fillet of fish on your plate. Flip the fish still attached to the skeleton over and repeat with the other side. If you do this right, it leaves very few if any bones in the meat.
Season however you want at this point and eat it. You can separate the bones from any extra fish and put the meat in foil and reheat it in the oven the next day. Happy fishing!


Anonymous said...

Alas, I am not a big fish eater, either. Maybe you could do a post on roast, or beef stew, or chili? I love those. ;-)

HermitJim said...

Now I find that to be a very good and useful tutorial for those that love fish! Looks good enough to eat to me!

Well done...

marci357 said...

I've been eating fish for over 50 years and never knew that fins/bones trick - Cool! We'll be trying that next fishing trip! Thanks!

Angela's Mom said...

I would like to publicly apologize for taumatizing you w/ the fish heads, but really, how many hundreds of acres are there in a forest...and what are the chances of you picking that one square foot???
Sometimes I've put an icecube in w/ the fish/foil- adds a little moisture. Thinly sliced lemon in the body cavity is yummy too. Possibilities are endless!

Anonymous said...

Way-to-go!!! Getting the youngsters' involved!

My wife would kill me if I disposed of the heads. That's her favourite part!


John in Alaska

Angela said...

Hermit-thanks for letting me know what you like. Did you check my jerky or bottled meat posts? Might be better for you than the fish and spinach! ;)

Jim-Thanks for the comment! They were delicious :)

Marci-You're very welcome. That's how my mom taught me to do it.

Mom-You're cracking me up! It was horribly traumatic, but I'm over it now . . . really, I am.

John-thanks for stopping by! Our kids are obviously not too squeamish. I know some that wouldn't touch a fish. I think the more they can learn the better for all of us.

foodstr2 said...

I love (to eat) fish. Thanks for the post! It looks DELICIOUS!

For The Hermit, check out http://www.internet-grocer.net/realmeat.htm

Did it MY way said...

That same trick works well with blue-gill to. Love fresh caught fish on the grill. Yummy-great post.

Jeannetta said...

Excellent tutorial aside from I can't hear what is being said in the video. What is he having your daughter do by pulling on the fish? I've never done this before...

TheSurvivalMom said...

I think it's great that you include such detailed information and even photos! I'm such a visual learner that seeing the steps helps more than just reading them.


Paladin said...

I am SO doing this as a "on the bank" lunch next time I go fishing.

Looked really tasty and the bone trick will save time/effort if I manage not to screw it up. Thanks for posting this!

Angela said...

foodstr2--thanks for stopping by! I love fish also :)

MY way--good to know it works on bluegill-probably would go for any of those pan fish? I think I regular fileted the last one like that we had . . . can't remember.

Jeannetta--They are gutting the fish. I've got a post with a fish gutting tutorial. Dad has the fish head/body and daughter is pulling out the guts by way of the tongue area under the chin. Kind of gross, but quick.

Survivalmom--I'm totally visual also.

Paladin--this is fantastic on the bank! Might pack a little something else in case it's not a good day fishing!

theotherryan said...

Nice, I will keep that in mind when it comes to cooking smaller fish.

theotherryan said...

I find the story and the convo with your mom totally hilarious.

Angela said...

TOR-Yeah, not sure how well it would work on a halibut, but it's sure slick on little fish! ;)

Anonymous said...

If you have it, put a little bit of butter on the inside of the fish before cooking along with your seasonings.