It took me some time to become confident enough in my cooking abilities to tackle a whole fish. In retrospect, that was really silly – working with a whole fish is, in fact, one of the easiest seafood preparations out there. Once you make sure the fish has been properly cleaned, which I have outlined with pictures below, it’s simply a matter of choosing a preparation and executing. Whole grilled fish is excellent, as is a whole roasted fish. Here, I lightly breaded and quickly sautéed the fish to crisp up the skin and finished it in the oven. The flesh was succulent and moist, imparted with lovely citrus and herb flavors. I love trout – it is reminiscent of salmon, but, in my opinion, milder.
After removing the fish from the pan, I quickly deglazed it with some white wine and added a bit of butter to create a really easy pan sauce. I served this with some roasted Brussels sprouts for a healthy, delicious, and flavorful meal.
Herb and Lemon Whole Roasted Golden Trout
1 whole golden trout, about 1 lb.
1 lemon, thinly sliced
1 cup flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
3-4 tbs. chives, finely chopped
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
1 tbs. canola oil
1/4 cup white wine
1 tbs. butter
Preheat oven to 350°.
When picking out a fish, make sure it’s eyes are clear and it has very little “fishy” odor. A little fish smell is okay, but the less fishy smelling, the fresher.
Oh yes, this guy’s eyes are clear as a bell. Have your fishmonger wrap him up for you and scurry home.
Take the trout and unwrap it. Your fishmonger should have removed the scales, but run the sharp edge of your knife from the tip of the tail to the head a few times to check for any loose ends. Trout actually don’t have scales, but it’s good to get into the habit.
Check and make sure the gills are removed. (Yes, I bite my nails.)
Yup, all gone. If they are there (they will be sharp, so watch out!), use scissors to cut them loose and carefully remove.
Look on the top of the fish and cut loose any fins. These tend to burn when you cook the fish and can cut you, so it’s best just to get rid of them.
Likewise for other flippers and fins. Make sure you cut just beyond where they meet the body.
Cut off the flipper end of the tail.
And the little guys on the back.
Sorry, Mr. Fish.
Take a peek inside the cavity and make sure the fishmonger got rid of the guts. Occasionally I’ve seen a piece of intestines here and there – cut them loose if you see any. I forgot to take a picture of this part because the cavity was impeccable.
Season the cavity of the fish with salt and pepper. Stuff with lemon slices, parsley, and chives.
Mix together flour, salt, and pepper on a large plate. Lightly dredge fish with flour.
Heat canola oil in an oven-safe pan such as a cast iron skillet over high heat. Add fish and cook 3 minutes or until golden brown. Using a pair of kitchen tongs, carefully flip the fish.
Transfer immediately to the oven.
Cook 20-25 minutes or until flesh flakes easily and internal temperature reaches 140º.
Remove the fish from the pan and set aside. Place pan over medium-high heat and add white wine. Stir in butter and whisk until melted and combined with the wine and drippings from the fish.