In the Mpumalanga Highlands trout is a regular feature on the menus of most of the local restaurants. Being a dish not often served in households around the country, many visitors to the area take the opportunity of ordering trout and find it delicious!
The renowned ‘Milly’s’ trout stores in Dullstroom and Machadodorp do a roaring trade in pan-sized and de-boned whole baby trout which visitors to the ‘Trout Triangle’ take home for that special dinner. As more South Africans strive to make healthy choices in their diets, nutritionists suggest fish as a healthy, tasty and nutritious alternative to red meat. Moreover trout itself offers a number of specific benefits. Approved by the Heart Foundation, Trout includes many heart-healthy vitamins, minerals and high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids while being low in fat and high in protein. So join the ‘No-Meat Monday’ brigade and treat the family to a trout dinner!
There are various ways of preparing these little beauties: if buying trout ensure that it is deboned, alternatively clean and butterfly the fish yourself. A classic method is to serve the pan-fried trout liberally sprinkled with toasted almonds – the crunch of the almonds coupled with the soft succulent fish is a truly inspired marriage of flavours and textures. At Stonecutters Lodge outside Dullstroom the chef very often uses Dill as a herb in the preparation of trout and here is a simple recipe to try at home: Pan-Fried Whole Baby Trout Served with Lemon Dill Cream Sauce. Wash and pat dry two pan-sized baby trout. Season with Robertsons Fish Spice (or seasoning of your choice) and coat with a light dusting of flour. In a large frying pan melt a tablespoon of butter and a dash of oil. Place the trout in the moderately hot pan and gently fry for four to five minutes on each side. The trout is cooked when the inside flesh loses its bright pink hue. Remove the fins which pull out easily from the cooked fish and place on a warm serving platter. Add half a cup of cream to the pan, along with the juice of one lemon, a tablespoon of chopped fresh dill (or a heaped teaspoon of dried dill) a little salt and a grinding of black pepper. Pour the cream sauce over the trout and serve with rice or baked potato wedges and a fresh green salad.
Poached or Baked Trout: These methods are ideal for larger fish between 1 and 2 Kgs. To poach use a poaching pan with trivet or lay the fish on top of a bed of onion rinds and carrot slices; Pour in equal quantities of white wine and water to cover the trivet or vegetables and add 1 bay leaf and herbs of your choice. Cover with a lid and poach gently for 30 minutes or until the fish flakes easily with a fork. To serve hot drizzle with lemon butter or lemon dill cream as above. To serve cold, flake the fish with a fork and toss the chunks in a home made mild mayonnaise. Lay in a fish shape with the head and tail placed on either end and garnish with parsley sprigs. This method makes a festive addition to any buffet table!
If you are enjoying a self-catering weekend away and surprise yourself with a catch of trout, here is a simple preparation trick using ingredients you are sure to have on hand: Rub the trout inside and out with salad dressing, season and wrap in tin foil. Place on the braai (barbeque) for 8 minutes (turning once) and tuck in!.