On a recent trip to visit my mother in Norway (Maine), I was admiring the small communities of ice shacks on ponds and lakes, and noted, that in the words of Tom Hennessey, the “season of fishing on frozen water is at hand”. I’m fortunate to have family members that enjoy the sport of drilling holes in the ice, set tip-ups, baiting hooks, and spending hours shivering while watching for red flags.
My brother Wesley, who meticulously rebuilt the family camp on Lake Pennesseewassee with flag surveillance in mind, had just spent the weekend ice fishing and promised me a treat. Sure enough, there were 2 rainbow trout, cleaned and glistening, waiting in my mother’s refrigerator.
As a coastal inhabitant, I was quite excited. Fresh-water fish, no matter what the season, is a luxury. The recipe for Pan Fried Trout is one that many folks will recognize as an old Maine favorite. This dish is simple and easy to prepare, and a joy to eat. Making a sauce by sautéing pecans in butter adds a sensuous richness, and elevates it to fancy restaurant fare.
Sitting around a cozy fire in the wood stove after supper, my mother and I agreed that winter living in Maine doesn’t get much finer.
Pan Fried Trout with Pecan Butter Sauce
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 ¾ pound to one-pound whole brook, rainbow or brown trout cleaned, with head & tail intact
- Sea salt & fresh pepper
- 1/3 cup all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons pecans coarsely chopped
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Lemon wedges for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a small saucepan. Rinse and dry the fish. Brush with the melted butter, both inside and out, and season with sea salt and fresh pepper. Mound the flour on a sheet of waxed paper and dredge the fish in flour to coat completely.
- Using a fry pan that can accommodate the fish, melt 1 tablespoon of butter with 1-tablespoon olive oil. Heat until bubbly, then add the fish and sauté, gently turning over once, until golden brown on both sides, about 8 – 10 minutes. Remove from the pan to a serving platter and keep warm in the oven.
- To prepare the sauce, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in a small saucepan, add the pecans, and cook until fragrant. Add the parsley. Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice. Spoon the sauce over the trout and serve immediately.
- Makes 2 servings.