Want a delicious and easy fried trout recipe for the country dinner table? Here’s how to make whole fried trout in a cast iron skillet.
Fish isn’t something many folks think of as a farm food anymore. Sit down to eat a country-style spread and most people expect to be served beef, chicken, lamb or pork.
And yet in the old days, many farmers would fish and hunt for meat. It wasn’t unusual to serve pork at the table or have chicken for a Sunday dinner meal. But neither was it odd to have a heaping platter of venison or fish instead.
Today not many people think of trout as a farm food. But actually, I do.
You see, I was raised on a farm. And right through the middle of that farm flowed a creek where cutthroat trout seemed to abound. Every summer, my siblings and I looked forward to fishing season. Fresh fish was a welcome change and on the opening day, we would get up at the break of dawn.
Pulling on our many different sizes of rubber boots, we’d tromp down through the dew-soaked hay fields to see if we could catch our limit. Every year, we’d return home soaked to the skin, with a row of trout strung on a forked stick.
After cleaning our fish at the kitchen cast iron sink, we’d feed the heads and innards to the barn cats. Meanwhile, my mum would roll our trout in cornmeal and Johnny’s seasoning salt, then pan fry the fish.
And that was breakfast.
To this day, I don’t think anything gives the dinner table country vibes better than whole fried trout in a cast iron skillet!
Items You’ll Need
- Cast iron skillet
- Metal flipper spatula
- Cutting board
- Kitchen scissors
- 2-3 fresh trout, heads & innards removed
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3 raw garlic cloves
- 1-2 onion greens, cut into thin rings
- 5 sprigs fresh dill
How to Make Whole Fried Trout in a Cast Iron Skillet
- Clean your trout, removing head, innards and blood vessel next to the backbone (I teach you how HERE).
- Lay trout on a cutting board and go gather fresh garlic, onion greens and dill from the garden.
- Measure butter into a cast iron skillet and melt under medium heat.
- Sprinkle salt and pepper over your fresh trout on both sides.
- Before the butter browns, add trout to the pan.
- While your trout fries, prepare your herbs and set them aside.
- Peel and mince garlic cloves
- Mince onion greens until you have 1/2 cup.
- Mince 1 tablespoon of fresh dill.
- Check your trout and if it no longer has a pinkish white translucent color at the spine, flip.
- Small trout (8-10 inches) usually need 3-4 minutes of frying, while large trout may need 5-6 minutes.
- Fry the second side until it also loses it’s translucent color at the spine.
- In the last minute or two, sprinkle garlic, onion greens and fresh dill over your fish.
- Let trout finish frying, until meat is flaky and white throughout.
- Serve hot, being sure to direct your guests on how to remove the bones (see directions below).
What oil do you use to fry trout?
I like to use butter for frying trout, because it gives the meat a delicious flavor. But you can use any type of oil or fat you prefer.
Should you debone trout before or after cooking?
Flaying fresh trout before frying works well if your fish is large (about 2 lbs or more). But when you’re dealing with smaller trout, it’s better to fry the whole thing before attempting to remove bones. You’ll save more of the precious meat this way.
How do you know when trout is done?
Pan fried trout is done when it’s flesh loses that translucent, pinkish white color near the spine. You’ll notice a flatter color when this happens and the flesh along the spine will be flaky and soft.
How do you debone fried trout?
It’s important to debone your fried trout before you try to eat it. This is especially true if you’re feeding fish to your little ones!
There’s an easy way to do this.
- Grab a fork and lay your fried fish out on a plate.
- Lift the tail with one hand and insert your fork into the flesh underneath.
- Gently follow the backbone with your fork while lifting the tail with your other hand.
- Separate the flesh until you can lift the backbone free from the bottom slab of trout.
- Set aside.
- Remove the top and bottom fins from your bone-free slab of trout
- To remove the 2nd slab of trout from the backbone, repeat the process.
- Lay the trout on a plate meat side down (bones up).
- Using your fork, loosen slab of trout meat from the backbone, lifting up on the tail.
- Check the 2nd slab of trout for fins as well and remove any you find.
If you cooked the fish for too long, some of the fine bones along the belly may break away from the spine. You can check from bones by running one prong of your fork through the belly meat. This should lift and expose anything that was left behind and you can easily lift it out.
Can you eat trout with the skin on?
Yes, yes, yes! Trout doesn’t have scales, so it’s skin is safe to eat.
And cast iron trout usually has a delicious, crispy skin that is filled with flavor. In my mind, it’s the best part on the fish. So don’t throw it out unless you first try it. Leave the skin attached to the flesh and try the two combined.
You won’t be sorry.
Fried Trout in a Cast Iron Skillet
- 1 cast iron pan
- metal spatula flipper
- wooden Cutting board
- kitchen knife
- measuring spoon & cups
- 2-3 small trout (8-12 inches long)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3-4 fresh garlic cloves
- 2 onion greens
- 5 sprigs fresh dill
- salt and pepper to taste
- Clean your fresh trout, removing head, innards and blood along the backbone.
- Set aside on cutting board.
- From the garden, harvest fresh garlic, onion greens and dill.
- Heat cast iron skillet over medium heat.
- Measure out 2 tablespoons of butter and melt in pan.
- Sprinkle both sides of your trout with salt and pepper.
- When cast iron skillet is heated and before butter browns, add trout.
- While fish fries, mince garlic, onion green and dill.
- Set herbs aside.
- Fry trout on one side until it loses the translucent color at the spine and turns white.
- Flip and fry on the 2nd side for about 1 minute less than the first.
- When the spine area turns white on the second side, lavishly sprinkle the fish with garlic, onion greens and dill.
- Fry another minute or two, being careful to avoid burning the garlic.
- Serve whole trout immediately.