The other day I was shopping for dinner. I wanted something that was absolutely no-fuss, quick and delicious. At the seafood counter was a display of butterflied trout, all stacked up neatly as though they were embracing each other. That’s exactly what I needed – a meal that began with a collective “hug.”
A “butterflied” trout is a method of filleting the fish where the ribs and backbone have been removed, allowing the fish to lay open flat with the head and tail still attached. A butterflied trout is perfect for stuffing as you can easily fold the fillets back together like a book.
When you prepare a meal with a product that is inherently very flavorful, you don’t need to add a lot of ingredients or fuss over it. Trout, a member of the salmon family, have a mild, delicate flavor. I decided to oven-bake the butterflied trout using only a little oil and fresh herbs for flavoring. The process is so simple that I admit it hardly constitutes a “recipe” but it’s a method so delicious that I’m sure you’ll make it many times for family and for dinner guests. If you’re not fond of cooking whole fish with the heads and tails still attached, feel free to remove them before cooking.
I didn’t want to overwhelm the flavor of the trout with strong herbs. Rather, I wanted the fresh herbs to impart a light “green” flavor, so I chose parsley, chives and a little dill. Oven-baking the trout wrapped in foil takes less than 15 minutes and keeps the trout succulent. I finished the trout with a quick sear under the broiler to add a little sear and color.
2 whole trout, butterflied
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mild herbs
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. For each fish, cut a piece of non-stick aluminum foil that is slightly larger than twice the size of the fillet. You will completely seal the trout in the foil while baking.
Place each open butterflied trout skin-side-down in the center of the piece of non-stick aluminum foil that has been lightly oiled to keep the fish from sticking.
Top each filled with a light drizzle of olive oil and chopped herbs.
Fold the aluminum foil over the fish, lightly crimping to seal. This will ensure that the fish remains juice while baking. Place each foil packet on a baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 13 minutes.
Remove the baking sheets from the oven and carefully open the top of the foil to expose the fish. Return the fish to the oven and broil for 3 minutes.
The trout will be very delicate, moist and flaky. Carefully transfer each trout to individual plates.
In keeping with the simplicity of this meal, I served it with just a side of homemade coleslaw and some toasted naan bread.