When it comes to fish, many people love to cook trout
because it is delicious and easy to prepare.

trout with herbs and lemon
Image source: Pixabay, RitaE

Trout is a freshwater fish that can be found naturally in the Nothern Hemisphere.

But there also are trout in other parts of the world, and you can find them on fish farms as well.

When it comes to their natural habitat, most trout live in freshwaters like rivers, lakes, or streams.

They like cool water, from 50 to 60 °F. However, some trout behave a bit like salmon because they live for a couple of years at sea and then return to freshwaters. These trout are called steelhead.

Trout vary in color and pattern dramatically. They use camouflage to avoid predators when they move to different habitats.

Also, they can change their color really fast, depending on their behaviors. When they are aggressive, they become darker, or lighter when they are submissive.

Their taste can also vary depending on their primary diet. They can eat insects, other fish, worms, leeches, etc. But trout are not only part of our diet.

Brown bears, birds of prey, and other animals also eat trout. The reason for it is that they are oily fish, which means they are very nutritious. They have a lot of essential minerals and vitamins.

A 100g trout portion contains 141 kcal, about 20g of protein, 6.18g of fat, and 0g of carbs and sugars.

The same amount of trout has 25mg of calcium, 0.31 of iron, 25mg of magnesium, 377mg of potassium, 0.45mg of zinc, 226mg of phosphorus, 0.046mg of copper, 0.011mg of manganese, and 23.6mg of selenium.

When it comes to vitamins, trout is a good source of vitamin B1, B3, B6, B12, and vitamin D.

Since trout is an oily fish, it has a lot of omega-3 fatty acids. All of this makes trout one of the healthiest fish you can eat, especially when it comes to maintaining heart and brain health.

How to cook trout

If you chose fillets, you can proceed directly to the cooking part. But if you caught or bought the whole fresh fish, you need to do a few extra steps.

Choosing the trout

Unless you caught the fish yourself, or you bought the fillets, you have to know how to choose a trout at the market.

One of the tricks is to check out the transparent slime on the whole fish. If it is slippery, it is fresh. So, avoid fish with dry covers.

Cleaning the trout

Like any other fish, trouts have entrails which must be removed before cooking.

First, slice the trout belly from the anus to the head. Then, clean the inside under cold water. You can use an old toothbrush to clean the blood from the vein that is placed alongside the backbone.

Scaling the trout

Removing the scales is not necessary if the fish is small. If it is large, then yes, you can scale it.

trout on the plate
Image source: pixabay, hslergr1

Deboning the trout

Trout are a bit bony, but you can remove the bones or buy the fillets.

Deboning trout might be a bit tricky if you are not experienced. But the reward is great – tasty trout flesh.

On the other hand, if you are not willing to experiment with the precook deboning, you can always cook trout with the bones. After the fish is done, it is rather easy to separate the bones from the flesh.

If you are willing to learn something new, you can try deboning this fish yourself. After you clean the fish and remove the entrails, just follow these steps.

  • Place the fish on its belly and remove the dorsal fin by cutting it from both sides.
  • Now place the fish on the back and cut each side of the spine, but be careful not to cut too deep (you can rely on the sound of cracking bones – when you hear them, you don’t need to go deeper).
  • Cut the spine out at the 45-degree angle at both sides, all the way down to the tail.
  • Take the spine out.
  • Insert the knife underneath the bones and start cutting and taking the bones out at the same time. The cut should be so thin you should be able to see the knife under the bones.
  • Then prepare the trout any way you like.

If you need visual assistance with this, we suggest you take a look at this video.

Different ways of preparing trout

Depending on the time you have on your hands and on the flavor you are trying to achieve, you can prepare trout in different ways.

Keep in mind to handle trout carefully, especially when you flip it while cooking. The flesh is soft and could fall apart if you are not careful.

Grill

Maybe the easiest way to cook the whole trout is on the grill. Fish like trout and salmon have a lot of fat, so if you accidentally overcook them, it won’t be a problem.

So, you can prepare the whole trout with different filling, depending on what you prefer.

It can be parsley, salt, pepper, onion, garlic, fennel, thyme, rosemary, carrots, etc.

Cut the insides of the trout a couple of times so it can absorb the ingredients better. Put stuffing in the cavity. Preheat the broiler, and grill about 6 inches away from the heat. Grill on one side for six minutes, then flip and grill for another six minutes.

It is as simple as that.

Pan

If you are a fan of fried, crispier fish skin, maybe the better choice would be a non-stick pan or cast-iron skillet. Trout are usually prepared on melted butter with a little bit of flour. Preheat the pan, melt the butter, and cook for about three to five minutes on each side.

Oven

Cooking trout in the oven is maybe the best choice if you like your fish to be juicy. Fish is usually prepared in the foil in the oven. And for that reason, you will lose no flavors due to evaporation.

When you mix the ingredients with the trout, put it in foil, and then in the oven. It takes about 10 to 15 minutes until it’s done.

trouts with vegetables on the plate
Image source: Pixabay, RitaE

What goes well with trout?

When you cook fish, keep in mind to choose the right side dish. Here are some of the best choices to serve trout with.

  1. Steamed and grilled vegetables
  2. Fried, mashed, or roasted potatoes
  3. Pasta
  4. Quinoa
  5. Salad is a great and healthy side dish for any fish meal

The 10-minute rule

When cooking any fish, you have to pay attention not to overcook it. This is a common problem when preparing fish. Fish is done when the flesh becomes opaque. It is also important that the flesh is firm but moist.

There is a 10-minute per inch rule which means that the length of cooking depends on the thickness of the fish.

Before cooking, you should measure the thickness of the flesh at its thickest point. If it is one inch, the cooking should last for 10 minutes. Five minutes on one side and five minutes on the other side. If the fish is thinner than half an inch, it should not be flipped over.

However, if you cook the fish in sauce or in foil, you should add 5 minutes of cooking time. And when it comes to frozen and not defrosted fish, the cooking time should be doubled. So, 20 minutes for one inch thick fish.

When it comes to temperature, the internal temperature should be 145 degrees.

RECIPE

Simple Oven-baked Rainbow Trout

We chose a very simple trout recipe for you. You will need the so-called “butterflied” trouts for this recipe, whether you buy it or clean yourself. The whole meal, including prep time and bake time, is done in about 20 minutes.

trout with vegetables in foil
Image source: pixabay, spinheike

INGREDIENTS

  • Olive oil
  • 1 lemon
  • 4 fresh parsley springs (or dill if you like it better)
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • 2 small rainbow trout
  • Heavy-duty aluminum foil (make sure the foil pieces are big enough to wrap each trout)

PREPARATION

  1. Put a little oil on the foil
  2. Put the trout skin down on the foil
  3. Oil the top side a bit
  4. Season both sides with salt and pepper
  5. Put chopped parsley (or dill) and lemon slices on each fish down the middle
  6. Close the foil by pressing the edges of it

BAKE TIME

  1. Place each piece of foil with trouts on the baking sheet
  2. Bake for 10 minutes
  3. Check the trouts. Use the fork to pull apart the trout flesh. If you can do it easily, the trout are done
  4. If not, bake for another couple of minutes
  5. Carefully open the foil and slide the fish on the plate.

Pour the remaining baking juices from the foil on the trout. Serve warm.

Now you know how to cook trout easy and quick to make yourself a delicious meal!

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