Trout to Table
Sustainable Finned Food Sources Await In The Silver State
Long after the 5 a.m. alarm; long after beating the earliest rays of dawn to a favorite fishing spot; long after the explosive elation of a bouncing rod and a successful catch; long after the stringer, and the cleaning, and the old Coleman cooler; long after the cold one at the end of a day’s “hard work” fishing comes the real work—preparing and cooking a meal. The experience is as sacred and special as the catch, and even with a million recipes for preparing a fresh-caught meal, many anglers find themselves without the culinary resources necessary to cook their catch.
The best part: It doesn’t have to be gourmet to be delicious. Sure, the trout tomato bouillabaisse or Chilean sea bass with black truffle beurre blanc might exist in the repertoire of the fanciest chef, but here in Nevada, we make a little go a long way, especially when it comes to using simple ingredients to prepare a sustainable, local, organic, and—most importantly—tasty food source.
The following recipes have been hand-selected with these standards in mind. All the angler needs to do is to grab some fishing gear, purchase a license, and catch some fish. Try these recipes as-is or add your own flare or ingredients, but most importantly, remember that some of nature’s tastiest harvest can be found right out your back door, or in this case, right off your back dock.
Recipe provided by NDOW Public Information Officer Eric Cachinero
I like cooking my trout straight in the pan (cast iron works best), with the skin still on, heads and tails attached, and bones still in the fish. If the fish are too large for your pan (lucky you), they can be cut to fit. This recipe also works well when cooked over the campfire, either in cast iron or on a food-safe grate. Once cooked, if the meat is pulled at a 45-degree angle toward the tail, the inedible bones will stay intact and not end up in your mouth.
- 3-4 trout whole
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1 teaspoon Black Pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon Rosemary
- 1/2 teaspoon Sage
- 1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Onion Powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Dill
- 1/2 teaspoon Paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper (if desired)
- A couple squeezes of fresh lemon
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- On a plate, mix salt, pepper, rosemary, sage, garlic powder, onion powder, dill, and paprika so they’re well blended.
- Add 1/4 cup or so of olive oil to a cast iron pan and heat over medium-high heat.
- Rub fish down with a light coat of olive oil before setting them on your seasoning plate and applying a generous amount of spice blend, both to the inside and outside of the fish.
- Once the olive oil becomes less viscous and begins to shimmer, lay seasoned fish on its side in the pan and let cook for 4-8 minutes, depending on thickness of the fish. Once golden brown, flip the fish with a spatula and cook another 4-8 minutes.
- Check inside the belly to make sure the fish is cooked on the inside and flakes easily with a fork.
- Plate and add a couple squeezes of lemon juice over the top and serve with rice, salad, and/or a baked potato.
Recipe provided by NDOW Wildlife Staff Specialist Jasmine Kleiber
This is a versatile recipe you can use while in the field or once you’re home. Whole fish, fillets, head on or off—it’s great no matter what! This marinade works well with any wild-caught fish and can be used as a quick marinade or left on overnight in the fridge. I highly recommend using salted butter and a local darker honey (alfalfa honey is my favorite) to add fat and flavor. The grill marks from an open fire or smoker will caramelize the honey and taste wonderful, but you can cook the fish in a skillet too and it’s great.
- 1 pound fresh fish filet or pieces
- 2 tablespoons melted salted butter (Use real butter! Don’t sub olive oil)
- 2 tablespoons local alfalfa honey
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- 1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
- 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground ginger (optional)
- Mix butter, honey, lemon, soy sauce, pepper, garlic, and ginger and marinade fish at least an hour (longer if you have time).
- Grill on medium-high for 2-3 minutes on each side depending on thickness of fish. If skin on, grill skin-side down first. If you are using a whole fish, you can steam in foil, smoke on a cedar plank, or use a fish basket to grill. I highly recommend an open flame of some sort rather than pan grilling.
Lake To Lunch Striper Tacos
Recipe provided by NDOW Southern Region Angler Educator Abbey Czarnecki
Striper tacos can be created with a few ingredients and a one-pound fish. These tacos can be eaten right on the lake after catching your fish or taking home after a long day on the water. This is a fresh twist on a simple taco night with the family.
- 1 pound striper filets
- 1 package taco seasoning
- 3 limes
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 12 tortillas (flour or corn)
- 1 bag of tri-colored shredded cabbage
- 8 ounces shredded Mexican cheese blend
- 8 ounces red pepper hummus
- 1 bunch cilantro
- 1 bunch green onion
- Sour cream (optional)
- In a large bowl, mix striper filets in taco seasoning, lightly covering the fish, then set aside.
- Put 1/2 cup olive oil into a large skillet and heat to medium. Once the oil is ready, slowly add in seasoned striper filets. Brown each side for two minutes, then transfer to a resting plate.
- Brown tortillas to the desired temperature and set aside. Now build your taco! Take a cooked tortilla, place a strip of hummus across the center, then add striper. Top with sour cream, cilantro, and lime!
Smoked Rainbow Trout
Recipe provided by hunter, author, and chef Kristy Crabtree. Check out her recipes at nevadafoodies.com.
Smoked trout is a delicacy around our home. I found that brining the fish with salt, brown sugar, and peach brandy gives the fish subtle hints of sweetness. I also baste the trout with Mr. Yoshida’s Sweet and Savory Marinade to add another layer of sweet to each and every bite of the fish. If you can’t find the marinade, no problem; teriyaki glazes will work just as well.
When you’re ready to smoke, try using lighter or fruitier flavors of chips or pellets like alder, cherry, or apple.
- 8-10 Trout
- 8 cups warm water
- 2 cups dark brown sugar
- 1 cup peach brandy
- 2/3 cup kosher salt
- Freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 cup Mr. Yoshida’s Sweet and Savory Marinade or teriyaki sauce
- Carefully fillet the fish and then cut each filet in half.
- In a large nonmetallic bowl, combine the warm water, brown sugar, peach brandy, and kosher salt. Stir to dissolve.
- Place the fish in a shallow glass or plastic container skin side up. Pour the brine over the fish, cover, and refrigerate for 8-10 hours.
- Remove from the refrigerator and wash the fillets under cold water. Set the fish skin side down on a wire rack and pat dry. Let them sit for 2 hours in a cool place.
- Baste the fish with Mr. Yoshida’s Sweet and Savory Marinade. Generously season with freshly cracked black pepper.
- Preheat a smoker to 150 degrees. Set the fish on the racks and smoke for 2 hours. Increase the temperature to 160 degrees for 2 hours. Baste the trout with Mr. Yoshida’s Marinade and finish smoking the trout at 170 degrees for 1 to 2 hours or until the internal temperature reaches 130-140 degrees.
- Remove the fish from smoker and let sit for 1 hour to cool.
- Serve the flaky smoked trout on crackers with cream cheese and finely diced red onion.