Wednesday, March 7, 2012


    Wish we could catch our own rainbow trout, but it's not that easy.  I've spent many a pleasant afternoon hiking up streams or planting myself by a flowing river, taking a nap or reading a book while the hubby casts over and over with high hopes of catching dinner.

    Not a bad way to spend a day, huh?

     And sometimes, we get lucky.  He gets the thrill of reeling one in, and I get the final thrill of a delicious fish for dinner.

     The rule is, he catches, he cleans, I cook.  I'm not into gutting anything!


Here's one of his prize catches last year, a brook trout, the only trout that's native to the Blue Ridge.

                                                                Native Brook Trout

Rainbows, that touted mountain trout, were originally imported to the Blue Ridge!

During the early 1900s, the Blue Ridge mountains were heavily timbered, so much so that the environment was decimated, with heavy soil erosion that ran into streams.  That killed much of the fish.

To make amends, the railroad company brought in trainloads of tanks loaded with rainbow trout from Idaho and Montana, to re-stock the streams of the Blue Ridge.  That's how rainbow trout became our "mountain" trout.  Today, trout farms have ponds where you can catch your own, or we can find rainbow trout in our groceries supplied by Sunburst Trout Farm near Canton, NC and others.

Watch me prepare this recipe for pan-roasted trout with pecans on Daytime Blue Ridge  (click)  with host Natalie Faunce that we taped last week.  

And here's the recipe!

PECAN-ENCRUSTED RAINBOW TROUT  adapted from THE NEW BLUE RIDGE COOKBOOK, by Elizabeth Wiegand, Globe-Pequot Press, 2010.

            Fly fishermen love to practice their casts in the wild streams of the Blue Ridge, where rainbow trout are often stocked.  Or, try catching your own at a trout farm.  Rainbow trout filets are available at most seafood counters.  This is a simple and quick preparation, so have all ingredients ready to go, as well as your side dishes that you'll be serving along with the trout.

4 fillets of rainbow trout - about 4 to 5 ounces each (sea trout is good, too)
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk or buttermilk
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
2 tablespoons minced fresh herbs – choose lemon thyme, regular thyme, parsley, chives or a combination
2 to 3 Tablespoons butter and 2 to 3 Tablespoons olive oil OR 4 tablespoons canola oil
juice of one lemon

1.    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wash trout and pat dry.  
2.     Mix flour, cornmeal and salt together on a plate or in a shallow bowl.  In another shallow bowl, whisk together egg and milk.  And in a third shallow bowl or plate, mix the pecans and herbs together.
3.     Press fillets in  the flour mixture on each side, lift, then knock away coating until just a thin haze of the flour/cornmeal is left.  Dip just the skinless side into the egg mixture, then press that side into the pecan mixture. 
4.     In a large, ovenproof sauté pan, (or use 2 pans if filets are large), melt butter and add olive oil, or just heat the canola oil, over medium high heat.  
5.     When hot enough to make a sizzle with water droplets, add trout, skin side up, and sauté for about 2 to 3 minutes, depending on thickness.  Turn fillets over, and saute for another 2 to 3 minutes.  
6.     Slide sauté pans into oven to finish cooking, for about 3 minutes, or until the trout flakes easily with a fork.  Sprinkle with lemon juice and serve immediately.

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