Of course, it's mid-summer across the Northern Hemisphere. Our summers include corn on the cob, home-raised tomatoes, trips into the mountains to get cool. Chances are, once we're there--we'll go fishing.
You can find trout in mid-sized creeks, in shady spots where it is cooler, and where the flies and the bugs hover over the ripping waters. You can also find the fish in high mountain lakes, where the water is so cold the only way the fish don't freeze is to keep moving.
At least that's what my dad told me.
My dad and his buddies used to bring them home on ice. My mom refused to clean them. That and pheasants and ducks. The rule at our house: You catch it; you clean it.
But she did cook them. And she did it magnificiently. One of the best things you will ever eat is trout that is cleaned, not 10 minutes out of the water, then dredged in flour and fried in butter quickly and simply in a cast iron skillet over the fire. Mom would fix the smaller ones that way, not much more than five or six inches long. In camp. On the same morning they were caught.
Now, my brother brings back steelhead steaks in the fall, and sometimes he'll fix them for my birthday in December. They are particularly luscious, somewhere between a trout and a salmon.
But I have my ways too.
Poached Trout in Wine
1 fish, 8-10 inches long, for each person you are serving (I never much embraced fishing. I get them at Albertson's.) Gut the fish, if that hasn't been done already. I leave the heads on, but it's all right if the heads are taken away.
1/2 cup of smaller, white mushrooms, sliced, for each fish.
2-3 green onions, for each fish
Butter. Saute the mushrooms and onions in butter, until they are soft.
5-6 basil leaves, for each fish.
Salt and pepper the inside of the fish. Stuff the fish with the onions and mushrooms. Layer
the basil leaves on top of the vegies and lay them in a fairly deep baking pan. Think lasagna
pan. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Pour a bottle of white wine over the top of the fish. You'll need a bottle for every 3-to-4 fish.
Cover the pan(s) with tin foil or a lid. Bake for about 20 minutes. Start checking at 10 minutes.
When it's done properly, the flesh will flake easily, and it will be ever-so-moist.
The wine: something neither too sweet nor too dry. You want the delicacy of the trout to come through.
Yes, you do.