Trout has never been my favorite food. Growing up, when people said something was “fishy” and they didn’t like it, my mind immediately would picture trout. I have tried trout in restaurants a few times, and usually the end results are my sides are gone but three-quarters of the fish is still on the plate. I feel like a stubborn toddler who refuses to eat, and everyone around me keeps pressing for me to “try your fish.”
I thoroughly enjoy trout fishing, whether it be for rainbows, cutthroats, or browns. Trout fishing is an activity that can be enjoyed by any age group, can be done from the shore or a boat, requires patience, and also tests your critical thinking abilities. With trout fishing, there doesn’t seem to be a one-size fits all solution for catching fish. Sometimes lures work, sometimes worms, other times the fish are craving cheese. Every time is different. A day spent trout fishing is a good day.
So, as much as I loved trout fishing, I didn’t really enjoy eating trout all that much. I knew a lot of people who said they loved trout, so I figured there had to be something that I was doing wrong. As I started fishing more and experimenting with fish recipes, I realized I don’t dislike trout. I dislike farm-raised, probably been frozen for a few months trout. Trout prepared at home is amazing!
The last few months, I have tried simple, but delicious, fish recipes and I have made over-the-top recipes combining ingredients that I never thought would be a good match for trout. This recipe is definitely a simple and quick recipe. I made it at home this time, but I think it is one that would be amazing over the fire pit after a long day of catching fish at the lake. While I call this a simple and quick recipe, the flavors are rich and very developed. Even with only a handful of ingredients, I think the taste is very complex and each bite highlights a different aspect of the fish.
I used filets with the skin on for this recipe, but you could also leave the fish whole and stuff the cavity of with ingredients. If I were preparing this while camping, I would definitely do it that way since it would require much less preparation, which isn’t always easy to do when outside. But since I was at home, I used the filets so I didn’t have to pick around bones. These particular fish were cutbows we caught lake fishing in Colorado, and the meat was red, almost like salmon, and very substantial. I used to think people were weird when they would talk about how beautiful cuts of meat were, but these filets can only be described as beautiful!
This recipe requires very few ingredients, but it does have a couple of extra “tools” needed. First, you will need a grill basket. I actually went out and bought a grill basket just for this recipe, but I am really excited to own it now. I can’t wait to try it out over the fire the next time I am camping. It also is handy for the grill at home. It could be used for not just fish, but anything you layer together that needs a little extra support while on the grill. Second, you will need to grab a roll of kitchen twine to help tie the filets together.
So, let’s talk ingredients. I used oranges, dill, tarragon, and parsley for my fish, but this is the type of recipe you can afford to be flexible with. Experimenting with different flavors will result in meals that taste entirely different and new, but are still just as simple and quick as the original idea. I really love recipes like that. I don’t have to learn a whole bunch of different techniques to have unique flavors on my plate. You could easily replace the oranges with tangerines, lemons, or maybe even grapefruit (I haven’t tried that, but it sounds delicious to me!). I would even dare to try a lime! The herbs could also be switched out for rosemary, thyme, oregano, or whatever else your mind can come up with!
I decided to use tarragon this time around for two reasons: it is a great accompaniment for oranges and it is, by far, my favorite herb. I love the licorice flavor, which is weird because I despise licorice the candy. Anyway, besides the tarragon, I also added dill, which is always great with fish, and parsley, which adds a fresh taste I think.
Before layering the stuffing ingredients, I cleaned all the bones out of the filets. Even though the majority of the bones were removed when the fish was fileted, there are still some that run along the middle of the filet for about half the length of each filet. You can easily feel them with your fingers and pull them out with pliers. Removing them makes for a much more enjoyable eating experience, as no one likes fishing bones out of their mouth. (No pun intended!) I also rinsed each filet.
Once the fish were clean, I salted and peppered each filet. You could also add more flavors at this step if you were interested, such as a sprinkle of garlic or onion salt. I wanted to keep things simple this time, so I just stuck with salt and pepper. Next, lay down a layer of thinly sliced oranges that run the length of the filet. The herbs are added next, and part of what makes this recipe so quick is the herbs do not needed cut or minced or anything other than just placed atop the orange slices. I used about two sprigs of each type of herb. The only thing left to do is tie the filets together in a fish sandwich and place them in the grill basket.
The grill should be pre-heated to medium high. To help prevent the fish from sticking, a little vegetable oil can be rubbed on the grate. I also rubbed the inside of the grill basket with a little oil before enclosing the fish. Once the grill is up to temperature, place the basket directly on the heat and close the lid. Set a timer for seven minutes. After seven minutes, flip the basket, close the lid, and let it cook for another seven minutes.
I could actually smell the dill and tarragon mixed with the oranges before I pulled the fish off the grill. It was heavenly! To serve, cut the kitchen twine and remove the herbs and orange slices. The filets will be flakey, fragrant, tender, and full of flavor. I served with extra orange slices for squeezing over the fish and a simple side salad. Now that is one delicious meal!