Rainbow Trout and salmon are my two favorite fish to eat. I've been making salmon at home for a long time but have just begun using trout within the past two years. I first learned how to make trout by sautéing it on the stove (you can find that recipe here) and, just last week, I found a recipe for trout prepared on the grill.
This preparation doesn't have the flour and cornmeal coating of the sautéed recipe so it's even lighter tasting and lighter in calories. A lemon parsley butter is added after grilling. Green beans are the perfect side dish to serve with trout and the lemon parsley butter is fantastic on them as well. We're trying to avoid extra carbs during the week so there's no starch on the plate but roasted fingerling potatoes would be delicious with this.
We are fortunate to have a wonderful Rainbow Trout hatchery located not far from Milwaukee and I was delighted to see that our local grocery store just started carrying their trout. These babies are almost a full pound each! They are already partially cleaned when they arrive at the store so no insides to remove or scaling necessary.
Did you know that trout is among the top ten healthiest fish to eat and contains heart-healthy Omega-3 fatty acids?
To prepare the fish for grilling, start by using a thin, sharp knife and cut off the head just below the gills, the tail and any boney fins you can see or feel, including the large dorsal fin on the back of the fish.
The back fin can be easily removed by cutting around it. Leave the rest of the backbone in place so that the two sides of the fish stay together. The skin is left on. You don't have to eat it because the fish will flake easily off the skin after it is cooked (I don't eat it but my husband loves it).
The small bones on a Rainbow Trout are very fine so usually there is no need to worry about removing them. If you see any larger ones located near the spine you can pull them out with a pliers or your fingers - but with all the trout I've prepared, they have never been an issue.
Some people like to freeze the heads and tails to make fish stock. I like to freeze them too - until trash day.
Now, rinse off the fillets and pat dry with paper toweling. Place all the fillets you are planning to grill on a rimmed baking pan or a platter and brush both sides with a little olive oil and sprinkle a little salt and pepper on each side. Refrigerate until ready to use.
We use the flat side of a cast iron griddle when grilling fish. The fish browns beautifully and you don't have to worry about the fish falling through the grates of the grill! You still get that slightly smokey grilled flavor. Place the cast iron griddle directly on top of the grill's grates and preheat for about 15 minutes at medium high heat.
After the grill has been preheated for about 15 minutes, grill the skin side down first for about 2-3 minutes then flip over with a large, wide spatula and and grill for another 2 minutes. Of course, this depends on the heat of your grill and the thickness of the fish.
Other than the grilling, all of the components of this meal can be prepared ahead of time. You can have a lovely, healthy meal in less than 30 minutes!
I prepared the green beans by boiling them for 6-7 minutes in lightly salted water and then drained and plunged them into ice water to stop the cooking. They were reheated in the microwave for 2 minutes while the fish was grilling. My new favorite method is to saute some chopped onion in a non-stick skillet with a little olive oil for about 3 minutes over medium-high heat. Then add the blanched green beans and saute until heated through - about 1-2 minutes. I've read that Trader Joes Crunchy Garlic Chili is wonderful on sauteed green beans too. Can't wait to try that next time!
Update: The cast iron griddle we used to use had seen better days so now we use a Lodge Cast Iron Griddle. We love it!
Grilled Butterflied Trout with Lemon Parsley Butter
Adapted from Bobby Flay and The Food Network
Serves: 4 servings
4 (1-pound) trout without head, scaled, gutted, and butterflied (skin on)
Olive oil or canola oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Lemon-Parsley Butter, recipe follows
Parsley sprigs, for garnish
Lemon wedges, for garnish
If possible, place a large, cast iron griddle on the grates of your grill with the flat side up. Spray the griddle with non-stick cooking spray. Heat the grill to medium high to high depending on how hot your grill gets. I prefer medium high on ours.
Brush the trout fillets on both sides with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill, skin side down, until slightly charred and crisp, about 2 to 3 minutes. Carefully turn each fish over and continue cooking until just cooked through, 2-3 minutes longer. Remove from the grill and top each with 1 tablespoon of the Lemon-Parsley Butter. Garnish with parsley sprigs and lemon wedges and serve.
4-6 tablespoons of unsalted butter, at room temperature (can be microwaved to soften)
1-2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
Salt and freshly ground pepper