Last weekend was the first weekend of trout fishing season in this area, so Kevin made plans to spend the better part of both days along the local waterways. Every year, Kevin spends hours fishing on his lunch break, in the evenings and on weekends. Until this year, he participated purely for sport, releasing everything he caught. This year is different, though. Since we’ve got about a year of local eating under our belts, he suggested we take our practices to the next level and start eating some of his catch. Coincidentally, we have had our first experiences with wild food foraging in the past couple of weeks, too, picking some spring onions and receiving some ramps (or wild leeks) from a friend.
So, on Sunday, when Kevin caught two brook trout, it was time to take the plunge into eating what he had provided for us himself. I’ve got to admit, as a former vegetarian/vegan, it took a lot for me to wrap my brain around the fact that the fillets I was preparing had recently been part of a fish swimming in the creek (I wasn’t witness to him cleaning the fish). But, I am an omnivore. I forced myself to come to terms with the notion, and realized that, as local, sustainable and natural eating goes, this is about as authentic as we could get.
I prepared the trout fillets simply, baking them with a topping of chopped ramps, parsley, and torn bread. The flavor was light, delicate and delicious. Paired with some spring onion pesto pasta and radishes sautéed with fresh mint (bonus recipe below!), it was a great way to taste the flavors of Pennsylvania spring.
Brook Trout with Crispy Wild Leek Topping
- 4 trout fillets
- 6 ramps/wild leeks (if you don’t have ramps, you can substitute green onions and an extra clove of garlic)
- 2 cloves garlic
- few sprigs parsley
- 1 slice day-old bread
- salt & pepper, to taste
- 2 T. olive oil
- Preheat oven to 350°. Cover baking pan with foil and lightly grease.
- Place trout fillets skin side down on foil.
- Clean ramps and finely chop the white part and the leaves, then place in small bowl.
- Mince garlic and parsley and add to bowl.
- Tear bread into small pieces and add to bowl.
- Drizzle herb and bread mixture with olive oil and toss to mix well.
- Spread mixture evenly over trout fillets.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until trout is opaque and flakes with a fork. Be careful not to overcook.
- Serve with spring vegetables. (And watch out for super thin bones when eating!)
Bonus Recipe: Sauteed Radishes with Spring Onions & Mint
- 1 large bunch radish roots (save the tops for another use!)
- 5 spring onions
- 1 sprig mint
- 1 T. olive oil
- salt & pepper, to taste
- Wash and quarter radishes. Clean and chop spring onions, keeping white and green parts separate.
- Heat olive oil in skillet, and add radishes and white part of onions.
- Sautée over medium heat until radishes are lightly carmelized and crisp-tender when pricked with a fork.
- Add chopped onion greens, then remove from heat.
- Top radishes with torn mint leaves, salt and pepper.