Many summer days and nights of my youth were passed in a cabin on a small lake in southwestern Colorado. It is such a beautiful place that my husband and I chose to be married there.
So many cherished childhood memories are wrapped up in and on and around that lake. It's where I learned fish at age five, cliff jump at age eight (something I would never do now!), drive a snowmobile at age nine, and mountain bike at who knows what age. It's also where I learned to cook the trout I caught in the lake. The benefit of doing anything as a young child is that you don't know enough to be intimidated or scared or to let the voices in your head talk you out of trying something new. It seemed completely natural to me that even though I could barely see above the stove I should pull out a cookbook and find a recipe for cooking the trout I caught in the lake with my dad.
As an adult, when I mention I enjoy cooking whole trout, people look at me like I am crazy. I get it...cooking a whole fish can seem overwhelming, especially if you didn't grow up fishing on a mountain lake. However, this recipe is one of the simplest in my repertoire, makes a crazy good impression on dining companions, and is delicious and healthy to boot. It's based on a recipe I employed as a kid which I can no longer find and from a source I no longer remember. I simply tapped into a strong childhood memory to recreate this easy recipe.
The good news is that U.S. farmed rainbow trout is a sustainable choice and listed as a "Best Choice" on the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch List. Now, you may be wondering, where exactly can you buy trout. I have found it at well-stocked fish counters in grocery stores everywhere from New York's Hudson Valley to Ventura County, California. You'll want to look for trout with clear eyes and no fish smell (they should smell like a fresh lake). To ensure even cooking aim to buy trout of roughly equal size.
As with any recipe, read this the whole way through, have all the ingredients prepped and ready to go, and in no time at all you'll be serving delicious whole trout for dinner.
Trout with Green Onions and Almonds
Serves approximately 4 persons
2 whole rainbow trout, cleaned and dressed
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 green onions, cleaned, white and light green parts thinly sliced
2 tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted
Freshly ground black pepper
Brush trout inside and out with olive oil. Next, sprinkle inside and out with salt and pepper. Mix green onions and almonds together and then sprinkle evenly inside each trout. Lay trout flat on its side until ready to grill.
Preheat gas grill to medium. Brush oil on both sides of a grill basket* and place trout inside, and then lock the grill basket shut. Grill for five minutes with the cover shut. Then, turn the basket over, and grill for another five minutes covered.
The trout is delicious served with brown basmati rice or roasted green beans.
*If you don't have a grill basket, tie the trout shut with twine, and oil the grill thoroughly before proceeding.