I had an “Ah Ha” moment last night. For years I’ve admired whole fish in the market, from afar. So beautiful and glistening, on ice. Bright eyed (hopefully). Yet, also rather intimidating looking, if you ask me. The skin-crawling thought of touching...well, it's a whole little slippery animal there. Eek! Without fail, I would get right up to the moment when the butcher asks, “May I help you.” That’s on a good day. Other days it’s an annoyed, "Can I get you something" or the always welcoming Grunt that signals. “if you absolutely need something, I will begrudgingly assist with some eye rolling and judgment.” What’s up with all the rudeness lately, anyway?! Like Knox sings, “Why ya gotta be so RUuuuuUDE?!”
Like I was saying, I would get right up to pulling the trigger and would have an out-of-body moment my mind is thinking one thing but I hear myself say, "I’ll take a pound of…pause…(butcher's looking rather annoyed)… shrimp ::insert salmon, swordfish, any other already fileted fish here::” Then, I'd shrink away still thinking about that beautiful whole fish on ice. This is all really weird, because I'm usually fearless in the kitchen. Okay, so yeah, yeah enough about this whole whole-fish anxiety! I’m here today to say I BEAT IT. Why THE HELL was I so hesitant?! Finally climbing that mountain and buying a whole fish, namely Rainbow Trout from Idaho (but in Las Vegas), was the best decision I made this week. Please, if you or someone you know are suffering from whole fish anxiety – seek help – I recommend facing your fear. With this recipe.
Grilling the Trout whole leaves succulent, tender fish that literally falls off the bone in one juicy beautiful fillet. No muss, no fuss. No picking bones with tweezers. No pulling bones out as you eat. So easy.
Now get out there and JUST DO IT!
Whole Rainbow Trout
1 Tbsp Butter per fish, softened
1 tsp Dried Dill per fish
1/2 Lemon, sliced thin
2 Whole Trout (Approx. 1.25 lbs)
Nonstick Cooking Spray
Let's start with little bit about buying the fish...I won't pretend to be an expert. I do know, if it smells funky, it IS funky. Not funky fresh, just funky. The eyes should be clear and bright. If they are cloudy, that's an old fish.
Also, the fish should be firm. Like Jax Teller (a.k.a Charlie Hunnam, previously known as Christian Gray for a day, yet us XX chromosomes still wish it was so.) If your finger mushes into the fish or indents the flesh and the intention stays...that's an old fish.
Seriously...if you have a funky fish in question, trust your instinct, you will know...and don't forget:
So, get rid of that shit. That's a Proverb so thus goes for life, as well. I've been tossing those rotten fish and bleaching my kitchen. Life is fresher than ever!
Alright, so now you've chosen the freshest, most beautiful trout in the bunch and you are ready to grill!
Rub both sides of the fish with oil. Sprinkle skin on both sides with plenty of sea salt and black pepper, some dill and garlic powder.
Open the fish by separating at the middle – where the fish has been sliced to clean the “stuff” out (by the butcher because I'm not THERE yet!) Sprinkle the inside liberally with dill, garlic powder, sea salt and black pepper.
Coat the inside of the fish with softened butter – about 1 tablespoon per fish (both sides of the filets should be exposed by a slit down the belly of the fish when cleaned properly). I used ½ the butter on one side of the exposed flesh and then the other half on the other side.
Slide two or three slices of thinly sliced lemon into the fish and close, like a sandwich.
Preheat grill to medium heat.
Spray a grilling basket lightly with Cooking Spray. Place the fish in the basket and then on the pre-heated grill. Turn grill down to low and close the lid. Come back in 6 minutes and flip.
|A Doors song reference comes to mind here|
Cook another 6 minutes and remove from heat.
Let fish rest for a few minutes to cool.
Pull the skin from the meat and discard. GENTLY. Using two forks, slide the filet off of the bone in one piece. I found using two utencils helps, by gently pressing the filet away from the bone, while stabilizing the bone with the other fork. The tiny little bones will start to pull away from the meat, just keep gently wiggling them free and soon you'll have the full filet sans bones free and beautiful.
Garnish with a couple of the slices of grilled lemon from inside the fish, salt and pepper. Serve over rice.
For proof of fear conquered...
|The bone came out whole, the first try!! Score!|
Onto the next!
Until next time...Happy Cooking!!