Saturday, August 2, 2008

Somewhere Over The Rainbow ...Trout

After reading the title of this post, are you all channeling Judy Garland singing "Somewhere Over The Rainbow ..."? Or perhaps humming a tribute to the late Hawaiian gentle giant, Iz Kamakawiwo'ole, with his version of the same song? Tonight, I hummed the latter version, as I tried to figure out how to prepare the main attraction: freshly caught, right off the hook, Rainbow Trout!

This isn't just any trout, folks. These beauties were reeled in by my son and hubbyman. Is this significant? Oh yeah. This was the first time .. the very first time ... my son went fishing. With his dad, no less. My guys came home bearing 8 trout that they gutted and cleaned themselves.

There was a fisherwoman at the lake that told my husband to cook the trout "whole style" rather than fillet them. Hmm. Fisherwoman assured him that after they were cooked, all we needed to do was just tug on the tail and fins, and all the bones would just slide right out. Uh huh. Note to self. Be wary of strange fisherwomen giving boning advice.

Anyway, after hearing this, I was faced with a dilema. I realized that I had not ever prepared a whole rainbow trout before. Oh I've made trout, but they were tidy boned fillets that were floured and fried. That's not an option, here, as my littlest trout can't do wheat. Sooooo ... what to do, what to do?

I remembered reading about how pioneers would grill whole trout with bacon and onions, so I figured that would be a good starting point. But how to do it? Ta Da! I thought about how my friend Marjie has prepared meals "en papillote", and thought the process would apply here using foil on the grill.

Here's what I came up with.

8 Whole Rainbow Trout, cleaned, gutted, heads removed
Olive Oil
Montreal Steak Seasoning
Lemon Pepper Seasoning
Garlic Salt
1 onion - sliced medium sliver style
1 lb Hickory Bacon
Foil - about 4 inches longer than the fish.

Heat grill to high. Rinse Trout and pat dry. Rub olive oil on outside of fish. Season liberally with all the seasonings. Take a small handful of onion slivers, and tuck them in the fish cavity. Using two slices of bacon, wrap up the fish and set it in the middle of the foil.
Fold the ends over the tail and ... what's the end called where the head used to be? Fold it over that end. Then gather up the remaining two sides and fold over and crimp together to form a closed bundle.
Place trout bundles on the grill, close the lid and cook on high (500 degrees F) for 25 minutes. Yep, that's 25 minutes. This is a whole fish with bacon. Cook away, my friends. Remove the bundles from the grill, and let sit for 5 minutes. Carefully open the pouches; the steam will be HOT.

All was going well up to this point. The fish looked and smelled divine. Doesn't this look goooood? The aroma was marvelous, simply marvelous. I snuck a nibble. Oh. Lordy. Mild, smokey, creamy ... it literally melted in my mouth. The bacon cooked up like a Virginia Style Ham. I think I made a yummy noise. I'm pretty sure I did.
Then (da da da duum) disappointment struck. Oh fisherwoman, your attention, please! The bones do not just pull out as you assured they would. Nope. In fact, the fish was so tender that when you pulled on the tail, it just popped right off. *SIGH*

I was not a happy camper. I was faced with 8 fishes that needed to be deboned by hand after cooking. Small bones. Lots of small bones. Plus, my fisher people were hungry. *Double sigh* I was not about to let my son's first catch become a flop, so I set out to de-bone the little buggers. Fifteen minutes later ...

I was glad I did. While the fish were no longer "pretty" in their tidy bundles, the aroma and flavor was "Oh My Gosh" outstanding. The hickory smoke from the bacon infused the fish, and the onion was surprisingly subtle. That Montreal Steak Seasoning should be called Montreal Everything Seasoning. I'm using that delightful little shaker more and more, and it performed brilliantly on the fish.

So, next time my fishermen bring home their bounty, I'll be ready with the bacon. And the Montreal Seasoning. And a boning knife. In the meantime, my friends, be wary of the shady bone-advice-giving fisherwoman.

I'm off to hum again. Somewhere over the rainbow ....



this reminds me so much of my own blunders with fish - i wonder what i'm doing wrong, i dont know why the fish is so flaky it breaks up iummeddiately on touching it, but nevertheless, it's always delicious!

Cheryl said...

LOL< I am glad it had a happy ending!

Manggy said...

Well, *now* the Hawaiian version is stuck to my head! ha ha ha :)

Bone-in fish is our daily reality in this country :) It gets tiring after a while, but we were pretty much born with the skill to take out the tiny, filamentous bones out of our individual servings. I'm glad it still tasted awesome, though!

Anonymous said...

They did look pretty yummy wrapped in that bacon. I'm glad it all worked out. :) By the way, now that song will be stuck in my head the rest of the day. lol

Jude said...

As long as it's got bacon, I'm sure I'll like it regardless of how it looks.
I'm sorry to hear that it didn't come out as advertised.

noble pig said...

I bet your son was so excited. I'm sure with all that bacon it delicious. Bummer about the boning but live and learn I guess!

dp said...

Those trout look magnificent! So fresh. You really can't go wrong with bacon, now can you?

BTW, where did they go fishing? I haven't been since my college years when I lived in northern Nevada. I have no idea where the good spots around PDX are and I would love to take Sonny.

Lo said...

I'll admit to being a little bit squeamish when it comes to whole fish -- though I don't know why.

That said, these look wonderful, and I can imagine they smelled simply intoxicating!

OhioMom said...

Fun post! The only fish that you can pull out the "skeleton" all at once (to my knowledge) is the catfish.

I would love a little piece of your wonderful meal :)

Marjie said...

I've done this with freshly supermarket caught rainbow trout. Not on the grill, of course, but pan sauteed in butter, or under the broiler. You have to turn the fish on its back and pull upward on the tail, lifting the spine and bones mostly with it. Of course, since the kids won't eat fish, I can trust my dearly beloved to be a good boy and watch out for any bones I miss....Great adaptation of the "en papillote" foods. I think I once said this could be done in foil on the grill, and I'm glad it worked out OK (I'd have felt like such an idiot otherwise!)!

Grace said...

yep, now that song's gonna be in my head for hours. eh, could be worse. :)
bacon. never leave home without it. :)

OhioMom said...


When you get a chance, please stop by my blog and pick up your surprise :)

Jan said...

Hi Paula, I think maybe you missed my message, but I've given you an award. Stop by and collect it sometime.

Katherine Aucoin said...

Sometimes cooking fish can be tricky, but it looks like you pulled yours through with flying colors. It has to be rewarding for your husband and son to enjoy the fruits of theirs labors.

Pam said...

Darn fisherwoman! The trout looks really good - you can't go wrong with bacon!

Nita said...

Those fish are gorgeous, before AND after. Your boy must feel proud to bringing home the bacon, (well you know what I mean)and have you make such a grand meal of it. The sign of a good cook? Improvisation! Blue Ribbon to you! My mouth is watering.

Bridgett said...

I've never attempted to cook a whole fish but I hear it is delicious. Sorry to hear about the blunder, but wrapped in bacon, I bet it was still yummy :)

MrOrph said...

Those look wonderful! You definitely hit a homerun with those.

I like to smoke my trout - after they have been de-boned though!

Aggie said...

Wow! Beautiful fish! Your son (and his dad) did a great job!

This dish sounds fantastic! Glad it worked out in the end...ugh, I can feel your stress! haha!

Swati: Sugarcraft India said...

Wow am so impressed to know that your son and hubby caught these fishes..
Amazing !! and you have converted them into such a lovely dish!!

RecipeGirl said...

Wow, I'm completely impressed that you gutted the fish! Bones are a bummer. I always have my fish guy take them out for me. Looks like it's much more fun though to actually catch the little critters and do it yourself! Nice job!

Paula said...

Thanks everyone for stopping by!

Mediterranean Kiwi: I really destroyed the fish hunting out all the bones! They were soooo small and blended in. *sigh* Still, I'm glad they tasted soooo good!

Cheryl: I also love a happy ending!

Manggy: That song does stay with you, doesn't it! I've got to find a better de-boning method! I could have used a few pointers!

Per. Gardener: The bacon was awesome with the fish. It cooked up like a thinly sliced ham.

Jude: Live and learn I'll fillet the swimming beasties first next time!

Noble Pig: My young man was thrilled. Even better, he didn't care that his fish didn't have a pretty presentation on his plate!

Darlene: They went to a place on the west side of North Plains somewhere. I'll ask my hubbyman for more specifics. Have you guys been to Multnomah Falls when the salmon are running? They literally clog the creek right by the falls. You can reach out and touch them there are so many.

Lo: I'll never forget the first time I was served a whole fish. Felt like the thing was staring at me! No more heads on things for me!

Ohio Mom: Mmmmm ... catfish! I really think I'll stick to de-boning before cooking. I have a trusty pair of pliers that do a great job. Thanks for the award! What a nice surprise!

Marjie: The foil on grill method worked marvelously. These bones were so small, and not attached to the spine! Ugh! It all worked out ok, though.

Grace: It's a great song -- even after humming it for hours on end! Gotta luuuuv bacon!

Jan: Thanks for the award! I saw that you got my note! Whew! How's the writing coming? Is it still Tarzan hot where you are?

Katherine: My men folk were happy indeed! They had such a great time, and I'm glad they didn't come home empty handed!

Pam: Yeah, we won't be taking her advice anymore! I wonder if she walked awake making a "muhhahaha" sound! The bacon/fish combo really was terrific.

Nita: Thanks My young fisherman had a great time. He wants to go again, and this time I'll be ready! Although the fish was no longer pretty -- or intact -- by the time I de-boned it, it still was mouthwateringly good. (Is that a word? I hope so ... it fits!) I'm just so proud that my son has learned this new skill ... fun stuff ... but still a skill!

Bridgette: Cooking the whole fish was easy, deboning afterward ... not so much! It was good, though, despite the deboning debacle!

Mrorph: Thanks! Smoked trout is awesome!

Aggie: I agree. The rainbow trout are pretty. I had that uh oh feeling when I first tugged on the tail. Should have listened to my intuition!

Swati: My guys did great! All we need is one of your beautiful cakes for desert!

Recipegirl: Thankfully, my guys gutted them! (Whew!) They tasted great, and there really is a difference in flavor with fish freshly caught. It was probably 2 hours from swimming in the water to roasting on my grill!

StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

Ooooh! That trout sounds wonderful! I'm definitely feeling the bacon. I wonder if you could debone the fish before you wrap and cook it.