Being a successful fisherman, trout is a common table fare for our family during the fishing season. We prefer steelhead trout since they are large in size and have flesh and flavor similar to salmon.
In general, trout have a very delicate flavor. It is best not to overpower the subtle flavor of the meat with strong seasonings. Some other fish are similar. Kelp bass from the ocean, rockfish, and even some types of shark have a mild flavor which seasonings may overpower. Many types of fish lend themselves to this frying style. Try this method with the fresh fish you catch and see if it suits your taste.
Trout are good baked, broiled, grilled or fried. Here is my favorite recipe for fried trout. Salmon may also be filleted or cut into steaks and cooked in this manner. Larger trout (over 2 lbs.) should be filleted first and then cooked in this manner. Very large fish (over 4 lbs.) can be cut into steaks about 1 inch thick and fried.
It is best to cook small trout (7 to 12 inches long) with the bone in. If the fish is not overcooked, the bones will be easier to remove after cooking. If you are a bit squeamish, have someone cut off the head for you.
4 Fresh whole trout -- allow 12 ounces of trout per person
Breading consisting of the following:
1 cup yellow corn meal
1 cup flour
3 T. seasoned salt
½ tsp. pepper
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. parsley flakes
Oil for frying (about ¼ inch in a skillet)
Chopped parsley for a garnish
Mix the breading in a plastic bag (it may be saved and reused for other fish or chicken). Wash the trout and remove any of the dark substance along the backbone. Scaling of the fish is not necessary unless it is very large. Put the trout into the bag of breading and shake to coat the fish. Have the cooking oil ready in a skillet over medium heat. Shake the excess breading off of the fish and put into the hot oil. Fry for about 5 minutes a side for a 12 to 14 inch trout. Do not overcook or the small bones in the trout will come loose and make eating the fish more of a chore than a pleasure. When the fish are cooked, place them into a serving dish and remove the bones.
Removing the bones is a simple operation. Merely hold the fish by the tail and place a fork into the meat near the tail. Push the meat off one side and then the other and discard the skeleton. What remains will be a boneless filet of trout. The skin of the small trout is edible. Some consider the skin to be the best part! Place the boned trout on serving dishes, melt a patty of butter on each fillet and top with chopped parsley. Serve with lemon wedges and your favorite side dishes.