Monday, 7 October 2013
How to cook a wonderful trout meal without having to gut the trout!
If ever I "blank" or "get skunked" as my friends in the US put it (both terms mean you don't catch anything) I console myself with the thought, "Well I won't have to gut and clean any fish now!" I don't mind cleaning fish, after all, I must have cleaned thousands in the fifty years I have been fishing, but it is messy and a bit smelly. However, there is a way you can prepare fish for cooking without gutting and that is to fillet them. So when I caught three rainbows each weighing just over 2lb (approx 1kg) I decided to fillet them and then try to emulate an amazing trout dish I had in the USA earlier in the year. Please note it is easier to fillet or clean fish that are not too fresh. Leaving them in the fridge over night makes the process easier.
Three trout lined up ready for filleting.
A really sharp knife (preferably a curve bladed filleting knife) is required. I also like to wear a filleting glove on the non knife-holding hand. Having cut down to the back bone just behind the gill plate and just in front of the tail, I then start to slice down the fish with the knife resting on and being guided by the bone structure.
Ideally, you don't puncture the stomarch cavity. I came a bit close here! Then you turn the fish over and repeat on the other side (which is a bit harder as the fish has lost its shape).
If all goes well you end up with some nice fillets. It is good now to take some long nose pliers and pull out the tiny lateral bones. You find them by running your finger along the fillet as they stick up slightly.
Then I like to cut the skin off. Again the filleting knife has to be very sharp. Here I am using a special board (given me years ago as a birthday present) that enables me to clamp the skin and slice away from the clamp. If you don't have a clamp, sprinkling rock salt on the board helps you hold the fillet stationary whilst you skin it. Always cut away from the fingers that are pressing the skin to the board.
I then dried the fillets and beat up a mixture to coat the fish with. This comprised 2 eggs, a dash of garlic oil, salt and ground pepper. Having coated the fillets I covered them in bread crumbs and fried them for a couple of minutes a side in hot corn oil.My wife had kindly prepared some vegetables and put the tartare sauce on the table.
As you can see I have a long way to go in terms of presentation, but the taste was stunning and we spoilt ourselves by eating 2 fillets each!
And if you want another very popular way of eating your trout try my earlier post at:-