When I'm feeling a bit bereft in the menu planning arena, I'll often ask my husband what he would like. He either says, "I'll eat whatever you make" or he answers emphatically with, "Pan Fried Rainbow Trout."
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My husband can't name "fishing" as one of his hobbies so we are grateful that our local grocery store has such a wonderful fish counter. The rainbow trout is so fresh and simply beautiful.
I filleted my own fish!
The fishmongers at my grocery store are so willing to fillet, debone, and prepare any seafood as I wish. But I wanted a go at it. So I bought the whole fish, listened to the instructions that my fishmonger gave, and set about learning how to remove the skeleton myself.
The fishmonger gave me lots of good advice, but I also consulted the internet. Although the carcasses aren't as pristine as they should be, I was a little proud of my first attempt. But next time, I'll probably leave it to the fishmonger and maybe beg for a hands-on lesson. Or ten.
Coating the fish with spiced cornmeal ... this is the THING!
To make pan fried rainbow trout, I season the fillets with smoked paprika, granulated garlic, salt, and pepper ... mixed into cornmeal.
Cornmeal or masa harina?
Use a fine cornmeal or do as I do and use Masa Harina.
Masa Harina is cornmeal that is used in Mexican cuisine. It has been treated to remove the hulls from the kernels which makes it softer and easier to digest. This is the corn meal used to make corn tortillas. I tend to use it whenever I want to use cornmeal ... even when I make Crunchy Cast Iron Cornbread.
Coat the fish on both sides with the seasoned cornmeal.
Cover the bottom of the skillet with oil, then lay the fillets in flesh side first. Once it's browned, turn it over carefully with a fish spatula, and brown the skin side. Some people love to eat the skin ... my grandkids fight over it.
The simple sauce for pan fried rainbow trout
The sauce that goes with Pan Fried Rainbow Trout is so simple. A bit of lemon juice goes into the pan to reduce, then you put in a knob of butter, stir it around, and pour it over the trout.
Serve it with buttered rice or any roasted or sauteed vegetable ... like beans, broccoli, cauliflower, or mashed peas.
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If you try this recipe and enjoy it, please leave a comment below and a star rating. Also, if you are on Instagram, post a photo and tag me @tammycirceocheznous so that I can see your delicious dish!
Pan Fried Rainbow Trout
- 2 rainbow trout filleted
- ⅓ cup fine cornmeal or masa harina See notes
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon granulated garlic
- salt and pepper to taste
- avocado oil or other high-heat oil
- ½ cup lemon juice
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- Mix the cornmeal or masa harina with the smoked paprika and granulated garlic, salt, and pepper.
- Coat each trout fillet with the seasoned cornmeal.
- Heat a large cast-iron skillet (or stainless steel) over medium to medium-high heat. Add oil to cover the bottom of the skillet.
- Lay each trout fillet into the skillet flesh side first. Let it brown, then turn it to the skin side. Allow it to cook till the fish lightly flakes.
- Remove the fillets to a platter and carefully pour the the lemon juice in the skillet. It reduces fast! Turn off the heat, then add the butter and swirl it around to incorporate it into the lemon juice.
- Pour the pan sauce over the fillets and serve with extra lemon wedges.
I just started fishing. I'm catching a lot of trout so I'm going to try this recipe out soon. Someone cooking trout on YouTube said to always cook the skin side first because that renders the fat into the meat and improves flavor. What's your rationale for cooking the flesh side first? Thank you!
I find it easier to keep the fish from falling apart when I flip it if I sear the flesh side first, then let it finish cooking through with the skin side down.