When friends and family want to fish the famed McKenzie River, right near our home, the first species we target are trout. Plentiful, fairly easy to catch, and fun for all ages, trout not only offer great sport, but fine eating. Since trout is a mild fish, it is a very versatile seafood when it comes to cooking.
Many ingredients can be conveniently stuffed inside the cavity of a trout, from fresh herbs and citrus to cream cheese, jalapeÃ±o peppers and bacon. In the case of this stuffed trout recipe, that ingredient is wild rice. Mine is traditional, but think outside the box — perhaps creamy coconut rice or yellow curried rice may suit your craving.
- 4-6 trout
- 2-3 cups cooked, seasoned wild rice
- 1 lemon, sliced
- Olive oil
- Salt & pepper
- Clean fish and remove heads if desired. Make several shallow slits in the skin on both sides of the fish.
- Drizzle fish (inside and out) with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Stuff fish with wild rice and top each fish with lemon slices. Bake in an ovenproof dish at 350º. Cook fish 20 minutes or until it tests done or comes to an internal temperature of 140º.
- If you are grilling, partially wrap fish in foil, leaving the top open so they are easy to move around the grill.
For a quick shortcut, try some of the many prepared long grain and wild rice blends. It's also easy to make your own. Wild rice comes in many varieties, but when using it as a stuffing for fish, the rice should be moist. Add more liquid if needed.
- 1/2 cup wild rice or long grain and wild rice blend
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup onion, minced
- 3-6 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh or 2 tablespoons dried parsley
- Zest from 1 lemon
In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil on medium-high heat. Sauté onions and garlic 3-5 minutes or until soft. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cover 25-35 minutes or until rice is tender. Let cool slightly before stuffing fish.
CHEF'S TIP: Vacuum Sealing Whole Fish
Fresh fish is always best, but when you catch more than you can eat right away, then smoking, canning and freezing are all good preservation options. When freezing fish, vacuum sealing is my top choice.
Due to the cell structure of fish, they can become freezer-burned or turn "fishy" quickly in the freezer. Here are a few of my freezing tips:
- Clean and cool fish quickly after catching. (Ensure gills are fully removed if freezing with the head on.)
- Scale fish to rid the fish of slime and keep unwanted scales off of the flesh.
- Rinse fish with cold water and pat dry.
- Partially freeze fish to remove moisture by placing on a baking sheet and freezing for at least 1 hour.
- When vacuum sealing larger fish, cut bags to fit fish size. Leave enough room for the seal to properly function.
- Try to use fish within 4-5 months as meat quality and texture begins to deteriorate.
- Always defrost frozen fish under refrigeration. Defrosting on the countertop is not only a health safety issue but it will greatly compromise flavor and texture of the fish.
- Remove and discard any portions of the fish that look dry or freezer-burned.