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
- 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.
- 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).
- 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
- For the freshest fish-fry possible, clean your trout as soon as you conclude your riverbank victory dance.
- 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.
- Gently pull out the fish’s gills and entrails, then scrape off the blood vein that runs along the spine.
- 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:
- Packing a Camp Cooler
- Smoky Spicy Salmon Jerky
- Skillet-Fried Rainbow Trout with Lemon and Fresh Dill
Excerpted from The Campout Cookbook by Marnie Hanel and Jen Stevenson (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2018.