By Nick Simonson
Generally, I’m a catch-and-release guy when it comes to trout fishing, even on put-and-take waters. However, in fall or winter when waters are clear and cold, and the fish are biting and of good size after being fattened from a summer of feeding, I’ve been known to save one or two for the pan or the grill, or on rare occasions over the fire, when the opportunity presents itself.
Cooking trout is a simple process that has produced many of the most memorable meals I’ve had in the outdoors, whether in the mountains of northern Norway with fresh picked forest mushrooms, or in the oven at the cabin with stuffing and onions on a cold winter’s night. What follows is just a starter recipe, and the filling can evolve into whatever combination you want, so long as it cooks in a manner that is timely with the fish.
1 Whole Trout, Cleaned with Head Removed
1 Whole Yellow Onion
1 Package Fresh Mushrooms
1/2 Stick of Butter
Lemon, Salt & Pepper to Taste
Clean the trout thoroughly, removing the head and the innards. Use the edge of your thumb or a spoon to scrape out the bloodline areas up around the spine of the fish and remove all the dark material for the best tasting trout possible.
Cut the onion in half, and then cut each half into eighths, so the pieces are small and short and can be easily placed in the trout. Select your favorite mushrooms and cut them into similar sizes as the onion pieces. Once complete, mix the onion and mushroom pieces together in a small bowl and add a dash or two of salt and pepper to taste.
Lay the trout on a piece of thick or double-layered tinfoil with enough left over to wrap the fish completely. Put three pats of butter on the inside portion of the cavity formed when the trout was cleaned. Spoon the onion and mushroom mixture into the cavity and pack it tightly until it can hold no more. Put the extra in around the belly of the trout if you have some left over. Place three pats of butter on top of the mixture and then add three lemon slices on top of the butter. Wrap the remaining foil tightly around the fish and onion-mushroom mixture, so it is completely covered, but can be opened from the top.
Bake or grill the trout for approximately 40 minutes at 375 degrees, or until the meat at the thicker front of the fish flakes with a fork. Unwrap and serve as-is or remove the onions and mushrooms to a small dish to be served on the side. The backbone and ribs will be easy to pull out when the fish is properly cooked for a no-fuss fillet on the plate.
Whether streamside at a campsite, at home around the dinner table or any time a different taste of the outdoors is desired, stuffed trout is a rustic way to celebrate the catch and enjoy a good meal.
Featured Photo: Trout can be stored on ice in the boat or creel and cleaned quickly to preserve their flavor and texture for a great meal. Pack the trout with filling for great taste and a hearty meal from the oven, grill or campfire. Simonson Photo.