What’s in Your Creel?

What’s in Your Creel?

Preparing Freshwater Trout With Chef Shawn Doyle Of Savory Grille

Whether the catch du jour is rainbow, brown, or brook—Pennsylvania’s state fish—it’s all trout and it’s all delicious. And Chef Shawn Doyle can reel off plenty of other attributes to get you hooked on this local favorite.

“What most people like about trout is the fact that it’s very clean and doesn’t have a fish aroma, and it does not have scales,” Doyle reports. “When filleting it out, I do a V-cut to take out the pin bones so there’s no bones to be dealing with later. And the skin is just beautiful.” Season simply with salt and perhaps a little pepper—no dredging in flour necessary.

Doyle’s cooking method of choice is panning trout fillets in a cast iron skillet or other heavy pan that is hot, but without approaching the blazing heat needed to make, say, blackened redfish. “It should sizzle when it hits the pan,” he says. Grease the skillet lightly with canola or high-smoking-point oil, place the trout in the skillet skin-side down and cook five to six minutes until the skin is crispy. “Turn it over and the fish will finish in no more than one and a half to two minutes,” he continues. “It’s quick, and the skin will be beautifully crisped.” Although stuffed trout makes a lovely presentation, Doyle eschews this method since “the trout cooks before the filling warms up.”

In a separate pan, add garlic, herbs, citrus, or other preferred tastes—Doyle likes escargot—to melted butter for finishing. Thanks to trout’s mild flavor, this versatile entrée pairs well with a spectrum of sides, such as a vibrant slaw-style salad of fennel and orange recommended by the chef.

If fishing isn’t on your to-do list, check out area seafood markets. For example, Todd’s Island Seafood receives excellent farmed trout from the Snake River area in Idaho, North Carolina’s Smoky Mountains, and even nearby New Jersey. Take it home cleaned, filleted, and ready to hit the pan—something Mother Nature won’t do for you.

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