Indoors or out, basic flavors enhance freshest fish

Eating well in the outdoors elicited the past couple of posts to this blog, as well as my most recent column in the Mail Tribune’s food section. Read next week’s installment for a few more of my family’s campout favorites.

There’s often the chance, though, that any one of these meals — carefully planned, prepped and packed from home — will incorporate a spontaneous serving of lake fish. Trout, bass and crappie all were the quarry at mountain lakes where my family camped over the week bookending Memorial Day. About half the time, my husband and sons landed a large enough fish to afford each of us a bite with our spaghetti and meatballs, “faux” risotto and chicken tacos.

As fresh as fish gets and supremely mild, these little swimmers get a warm welcome on my plate. If we could just ensure success on the water, I’d plan a whole meal to complement their tender flesh. Because we can’t, of course, we remain flexible, packing basic ingredients to cook up the fish when we’re fortunate enough to have it.

The following recipe from the Los Angeles Times showcases freshwater fish, plucked from lakes and streams in season, at its best. This is just as simple in the home kitchen as it is on the campfire.             

Tribune News Service photo

Pan-Fried Trout

6 to 8 slices bacon

2 (1/2- to 3/4-pound) whole trout, cleaned and scaled

Salt and pepper

Flour

1 to 2 tablespoons butter

1 lemon

In a cast-iron skillet, render the bacon over a low and sweet fire. Remove and drain bacon, leaving fat inside pan.

Season the trout with salt and pepper, and flour trout lightly. Add trout to skillet and fry in bacon fat until crisp and golden-brown, for 3 to 4 minutes. When fish is nearly cooked, add the butter to brown and squeeze juice of the lemon into skillet.

Remove trout from pan and spoon some brown butter over fish. Serve trout with reserved slices of bacon.

Makes 2 servings.

Adapted by the Los Angeles Times from a recipe by Michael Cimarusti.

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