Pan Fried Trout with Lemon and Dill

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So, after a long day on the river, you came up lucky. Now what to do with your fresh catch? It’s hard to mess up a fish that is so fresh when you cook it in a pan or cast iron.

TO CLEAN
To start, make a shallow cut from under the chin to the tail. Open the fish and pull out the insides and toss them away. Run your finger along the spine, from the inside pushing from the tail up to under the neck. This will release the spinal blood. Cut the head off (save it for fish broth by freezing) and the tail, so your dinner isn’t staring back at you. Next, using scissors or your filet knife, cut the fins off from the top and the two in the center underneath the fish.

TO COOK
This is the easy part after your day on the river. Heat your skillet or cast iron up to medium heat and melt a few knobs of butter in the pan. I also mix a splash of avocado oil in since it burns at a higher temp. Cut a few slices of lemon and grab a handful of dill and just shove it into the cavity to flavor it while it cooks. Toss the fish in the hot pan and cook it until the skin is crispy and releases itself. Don’t try to move it early or it will just tear off all that delicate skin that is browning in the pan. Cook it for a few minutes until the bottom meat appears opaque and flip it to do the same on the other side. Let the fish cool for a few minutes to distribute the juices and serve it up warm. To serve it, I usually do plain rice on the bottom to let it soak up the butter and fish juice.

Servings depend on the fish, but I would allow 1/4 pound of a fish per person.