Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Cooking Rainbow Trout

Rainbow trout have a fascinating life story. You don't need to know it to enjoy cooking and eating this tender-fleshed fish, but I find that brushing up on my food facts makes me feel more connected with the things that I put in my body and that sustain me and give me pleasure.

Rainbow Trout With Vegetables

Rainbow trout are actually a type of Pacific salmon. Their native home is the rivers that feed into the northern Pacific Ocean in both Asia and North America, but they have been introduced to countries throughout the world. They are one of the fish species that are widely farmed today as a relatively cheap protein source for much of the world's population.
Some people know rainbow trout as "redband trout." Interestingly, the same fish has an entirely different name--steelhead--when found in the ocean, or when it returns from the sea for spawning. The steelhead form looks quite different from the rainbow or redband form, too, most significantly in that it loses its distinctive red bed along its sides.
Like other salmon, rainbow trout are good nutrition-wise. They are rich in omega three fatty acids, which have been shown to lower cholesterol levels. Omega three fatty acids have more recently been shown to help combat depression in people. Rainbow trout also have low fat but high levels of protein, vitamin A, vitamin D and various minerals. Easy Charcoal-Cooked Rainbow Trout
You can do this in a charcoal grill or on the hot coals of a campfire!
1. Rinse whole (cleaned) fish in cold water. Stuff with onion slices and lemon wedges.
2. Wrap fish in aluminum foil. Lay the foil-wrapped fish directly on hot charcoal or hot coals. Cook 7 minutes; turn the fish over and cook 6 or 7 minutes on the other side.
3. Carefully remove fish (still in foil) from the coals; you may need tongs to do this safely. Let cool for a few moments.
4. Open foil, season with salt and pepper to taste, and enjoy.
Note: You can eat around the bones, but a better approach is to remove them entirely before digging in. Using a fork, just pull the the fish's back meat in one direction and the belly meat in the other, and you can remove the bones in one piece.
Filled Pan-Fried Rainbow Trout
4 cleaned and scaled whole trout
1 cup pine nuts, ground finely or almost to powder
1/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup finely chopped prunes
1/4 cup white wine
2 cups fresh bread crumbs
Coarsely ground black pepper
2 teaspoons chopped parsley or parsley flakes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1. Mix pine nuts, raisins, prunes, bread crumbs and wine together.
2. Add salt and pepper to taste, and stir in parsley.
3. Press mixture into the cavity of each fish. Hold fish and mixture together with toothpicks.
4. Heat olive oil in skillet. Fry fish in hot oil for 4 minutes per side.
5. Remove trout to a plate lined with paper towel. Allow excess oil to drain off. Transfer fish to serving plates.
Sarah Sandori is the food and entertaining columnist for the Solid Gold Info Writers Consortium. Have you ever wanted to be able to exactly duplicate a favorite dish from a favorite restaurant? Check out Sarah's article where she reveals her source for the most mouth-watering secret restaurant recipes in America: