Rainbow trout has a mild flavour and is available fresh or fresh-frozen year round at most major grocery stores and some specialty stores. Rainbow trout comes in a variety of product forms and is easy to prepare. It has a high oil content and large flake which enables it to stand up to grilling and most sauces. At the same time its delicate taste and silky texture makes it a natural choice for simple preparations. Smoked rainbow trout can be used in dips and salads.
If buying fresh, the flesh should be firm and spring back slightly when touched. Fresh rainbow trout will have a mild odour but it shouldn’t smell fishy. Frozen rainbow trout should be in clean, tightly sealed packages that show no signs of freezer burn or thawed juices. Whether you buy fresh or frozen, buy it last before heading home.
Store fresh trout in the coldest part of your refrigerator (usually the lowest shelf at the back or in the meat keeper). Use fresh trout within 2 days.
Packaged frozen trout can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. To thaw, gradually defrost in the refrigerator overnight, or place in sealed plastic bag and immerse in cold water (approx. 30 minutes per pound). Frozen rainbow trout can be cooked without being thawed but allow for additional cooking time.
- Trout don’t need to be scaled and can be cooked with the skin on.
- Use mild flavoured oils to avoid overpowering the mild, delicate flavour of rainbow trout.
- Don’t overcook. Trout should be moist and fork-tender. Trout is done when it flakes easily when probed with a fork. (Below are suggested cooking times)
Rainbow trout can be prepared in a variety of ways:
Baking Place fillet skin side down on foil-lined baking sheet. Season lightly with oil, salt and pepper, and bake in 400 °F oven 15-20 minutes.
Broiling Place tray 4 to 6 inches from heat source and broil 8 to 10 minutes, depending on thickness. Baste well with oil or sauce before and during cooking.
Grilling Place whole trout, seasoned to taste, on grill about 4 to 6 inches from hot coals. Allow 1 to 2 minutes per ounce. Turn over halfway through cooking time. Trout is done when it flakes easily with a fork. (Tip: use a non-stick spray on the grill before adding trout)
Poaching Immerse trout in liquid that barely covers it. Add wine or other liquid for a flavour bonus. Do NOT boil. Takes approximately 10 minutes.
Pan-Frying Heat about 1 inch of oil in heavy frying pan. Roll trout in coating and fry at medium temperature until browned on one side. Place flesh side down first. Turn and brown second side. Total cooking time is estimated to be 10 minutes.
Deep Frying Fill fryer about half full with oil. Use a light breading or thin batter on the trout fillet. Fry at 325° to 350°F until trout is brown and flakes easily with a fork. This takes roughly 10 minutes.
Microwaving Thaw trout completely before microwaving to ensure even cooking. Cover fish lightly with plastic wrap, leaving one corner open for venting. Cook on HIGH for 5 to 6 minutes per lb for one whole fish (time increases for additional fish). Allow to stand 3 to 5 minutes before serving.
For additional preparation tips and some healthy ways to enjoy rainbow trout, we recommend the following:
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Fact Sheet on Rainbow Trout.
Foodland Ontario says “Trout is an excellent source of protein and iron, a good source of niacin and riboflavin (B2), and a source of thiamine (B) and Vitamin C.” How to Buy, Store and Prepare Fish
Leslie Beck, RD, has some great rainbow trout cooking tips and recipes.