From time to time, I like to cook something that makes Will and/or his dad raise an eyebrow when it’s time to sit at the table. Whole trout is one of those dishes because Will’s dad does not like having his food stare back at him. The poor man. I don’t think he realized what he signed up for when I entered into his son’s life!
The Fascination for Baby Trout
It has been several months since I last cooked a trout. Last time, I grilled it and did not stuff it. I wasn’t even going to stuff this one but….we’ll get to that in a bit. For right now, you just need to know that for the last several weeks, every time I’ve gone to the meat counter at the grocery store, these beautiful babies kept staring at me, saying, “Eat me!” OK, not literally these exact ones every time, that would be gross if they sat at the grocery store thawed out for that long! On Sunday, I finally bought them and decided to prep them for dinner.
How can one resist that cute little fishy face?!?!
Important Culinary Skills
Any time I cook, the first thing I do is take care of mise en place. A French term meaning to put everything in its place. In culinary school, mise en place and knife skills are the two most important things ingrained in you from day 1. Ok, food safety and sanitation as well, so three things. You are taught that before you cook, you need to get everything out that you will need for that dish. This means if you are following a recipe, you need to read the whole recipe first to make sure you have everything you need and understand the process.
There are three items missing from this picture because it wasn’t until later that I decided to add them, which means that my mise en place was not as great as I had hoped. But it’s good to be able to know how to tweak a dish as you go along to escalate it that much more.
Preparation of Brown Mustard
One note I want to make is about the brown mustard in the recipe. I actually used a homemade grainy mustard, which was an experimental mustard. I had never made mustard before, but bought some mustard seeds and tried a recipe. The recipe I tried was far too vinegary for my liking. On a sandwich…no way. However, it was really good to use it when cooking! You only need a small dab for the full flavor. If you are using a much milder mustard, I recommend maybe doubling the amount.
After I had combined all the deliciousness that I wanted to rub inside the trout, I had a brilliant idea! What if I stuffed the trout with….BACON! Actually, I wanted to use mushrooms, onions, and bacon. However, I was out of mushrooms at the time. So, I settled for onions and bacon. (To see how I cook bacon, check out this post)
At this point, I had to halt everything until I got the bacon cooked and the onions sautéed. But 15 or so minutes later, I was back on track with dinner. Once the two were cooked, I mixed them up in a bowl and continued on.
Stuffing the Trout
Doesn’t that look delicious??? Once I had my two bowls ready with yumminess, I then laid my fish out on the board. First, I slathered that beautiful flesh with the “rub.”
Then, I added in the onion/bacon mixture inside the trout. At this point, I was really getting excited and couldn’t wait to eat!
Baking the Trout
Once stuffed, I moved the fish over to the tray with my raised silicon mat and brushed oil onto the outside of the fish. I love this mat! It keeps the food above any liquid that collects in the pan.
Then it was time to pop them in the oven and bake them!
How to Serve the Trout
As they baked, I sautéed up some zucchini and yellow squash for our healthy side dish. And yes, I did add a little bacon grease to this dish too! Sometime, I will post the recipe for the squash side.
Everyone loved the dish. The guys flaked all the meat off the bones and mixed it with their squats, while I just flaked a bite at a time off on the top side. Then, I pulled the bones off and ate the lower half.
What I really enjoyed was the stuffing with everything. It really absorbed the smoky flavor of liquid smoke and tasted amazing!
The recipe below is for two fishes. I figured that it would be easier for people to adjust the recipe as necessary if it’s for two, then an odd number like three.
Do you have a favorite way to cook whole trout? If so, I’d love to hear your comments below!