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Pan-fried Trout

Trout With Smoky Bacon, Hazelnuts, & Lemon Sage Butter

This fried trout recipe is reminiscent of summer canoe trips. We catch trout and fry them almost immediately over a campfire. The smoky bacon flavor with trout is a classic, and the nuts and herbs add crunch and depth. Serve with a wild rice pilaf. Simple and delicious!


Fish Tip: Small coho salmon and Kokanee salmon are exceptional in a recipe like this. Small lake trout work well, too. These cutthroat trout from an alpine lake in the Wind River Range, Wyoming, had brilliant orange flesh, a sign they had been feeding on tiny crustaceans.

To serve four . . .
1 c. whole hazelnuts
6 slices smoked country-style bacon
4 trout (about 8 oz. each), cleaned and gutted 
with heads left on
salt and freshly ground pepper
8 scallions, washed and trimmed to length of fish
flour seasoned with salt and freshly ground pepper
1 stick (8 tbsp.) butter
juice of 1 lemon
12 large, fresh sage leaves

» Spread the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and toast in a preheated 350°F oven about 15 minutes, or until the skins split. Place them in a dish and cover with plastic wrap until they cool, then rub them with a towel to remove as much skin as possible. Chop the nuts.
» Cook the bacon in a large skillet until crisp, reserving the drippings in the skillet. Drain the bacon on paper towels.
» Salt and pepper the cavity of the trout. Dredge the trout in seasoned flour. Then place 2 trimmed scallions in the cavity of each fish.
» Heat the bacon drippings in the skillet and fry the trout, about 4 minutes per side.
» In a small saucepan, heat together the butter, lemon juice, and sage leaves. Spoon the lemon sage butter over the trout and sprinkle with the hazelnuts and crumbled bacon.

Cook’s Tip: You can adjust this recipe to suit any season by changing the nuts and the herbs: Use pecans and chives for a spring meal served with fresh steamed asparagus, and in summer, substitute basil and pine nuts and serve with sliced garden tomatoes. Such final visual and taste touches add appeal to any simple recipes.

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