Skillet-Fried Rainbow Trout with Lemon and Fresh Dill

Learn how to clean a fish and skillet-fry rainbow trout.

From “The Campout Cookbook”
June 2018

  • If fishing’s on your itinerary, this will be a true stream-to-skillet meal; otherwise, pick up trout at your neighborhood fishmonger.
    Photo by GettyImages/PhotographyFirm
  • “The Campout Cookbook” by Marnie Hanel and Jen Stevenson includes more than 75 recipes for camping.
    Cover courtesy Artisan Books

Yield: 4 servings

The Campout Cookbook (Artisan Books, 2018) by Marnie Hanel and Jen Stevenson is a cookbook that complements the magic of gathering around a campfire and sharing a meal with friends. In addition to recipes, this book includes inspiration and know-how for camping. This section has a recipe for skillet-fried trout and how to clean a fish.

If fishing’s on your itinerary, this will be a true stream-to-skillet meal; otherwise, pick up trout at your neighborhood fishmonger. Before you buy, check for signs that your swimmers are spanking fresh — clear, slightly bulging eyes; firm and shiny flesh; dark red gills; and the absence of eau de fish.


  • 4 whole trout, gutted
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 lemons, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch fresh dill
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Fresh herbs, for garnish

In the Backpack

  • Two 12-inch cast-iron skillets
  • Kitchen twine
  • Barbecue tongs
  • Serving platter


  1. Prepare a campfire and fit it with a grill grate, or set up the camp stove. Heat two 12-inch cast-iron skillets on the campfire grill grate or on the camp stove over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking, about 10 minutes.
  2. Liberally sprinkle the inside of each trout with salt and pepper. Line the cavity with lemon slices (about 3 slices per fish), then stuff with a handful of fresh dill sprigs. Gently tie each fish shut with 8-inch lengths of kitchen twine (also about 3 per fish).
  3. Put the butter and olive oil in the hot skillet and gently swirl to mix. Add 2 fish to each skillet and cook, undisturbed, for about 3 minutes per side, until the skin is crisp and the flesh is soft and flaky. Transfer the fish to a platter and garnish with whole fresh herbs and the remaining lemon slices.

How to Clean a Fish

  1. For the freshest fish-fry possible, clean your trout as soon as you conclude your riverbank victory dance.
  2. Lay the fish on its side and use the tip of a very sharp paring knife to cut through the skin along the belly, from the anus to just below the fish’s jaws.
  3. Gently pull out the fish’s gills and entrails, then scrape off the blood vein that runs along the spine.
  4. Rinse the trout several times in cold water, then cook immediately, or wrap in plastic wrap and store directly on ice.

More from The Campout Cookbook:

Excerpted from The Campout Cookbook by Marnie Hanel and Jen Stevenson (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2018.

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