Or get a friend to go fishing on your behalf. That’s how I came to be cooking fresh trout a few years ago. My friend caught more than he could eat while camping, so he brought me some extras. And he told me how to cook them.
Pan-Fried trout is a no-nonsense recipe, especially if you’re camping in the woods and know how to light a fire. I confess I have never been camping, and I have never rubbed two sticks together to create a spark. I don’t have a cast iron frying pan either, although I do have a frying pan big enough to hold three trout.
If you don't fish or have a fisherman friend , the fish counter at most grocery stores can get you fresh trout.
Luckily, my friend gutted the trout, so all I had to do was rinse them off, coat them with cornmeal and pop them into a hot frying pan for a few minutes per side.
We should have gone into the backyard and sat on the grass to eat dinner by moonlight. But that would have been too much like camping.
Pan-Fried Trout – serves 3
3 cleaned trout (about 3/4 pound each)
1/3 cup cornmeal or flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
2 tablespoons canola oil or butter
3 lemon halves
Rinse the trout in cold running water, making sure all the insides have been cleaned out. Set aside.
Put the cornmeal or flour, salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper, if using, into a large paper bag and shake.
Put the oil or butter into a large frying pan or wok and begin heating over medium-high heat. When it’s hot, put a trout in the paper bag, hold it closed and shake it several times to coat the trout with the mixture. Put the trout into the hot pan and repeat the process with the other trout. Cook for about 3 minutes per side, or until the coating has browned and the flesh of the fish has turned from translucent to white. Pull up a piece of the skin to check. Also, to test for doneness, see if a fork slides easily into the trout in the flesh near the tail.
Serve immediately with a lemon half per person. Advise diners to eat the top layer of fish (and skin, if desired), and then gently pull away and discard the backbone. Then eat the bottom layer.