- 3 to 6 (per person) 6-8″ wild brook trout are best by far, far, far and away
- a dab of butter or your favorite cooking oil
- salt/pepper to taste (don’t need much)
- eggs prepared camp style: either overeasy/sunnyside, or scrambled — but no hoity-toity methods…
- pan fries done your favorite way (I slice, half-cook in boiling water, then fry ’em up)
- bacon is optional: I use it with large trout, or with non-native trout; it will, however, ruin the wonderful flavor of small wild trout.
- toast is also optional — if you have, do not use jelly, which will once again mask the trout flavor.
Prepare the small fish, which means clean them (small/medium scissors works best). The only question up for dispute is whether to leave the heads on or not; there are those who find a small trout’s head incredibly delicious, or, if not eaten, necessary to complete the dish. I am not one of those. However, leave the tail on if the fish are small; side and back fins are less edible.
Trout are fired in a medium hot pan, thicker the pan the better (cast iron, etc.), first one side, then turned over. For small trout, you know one side is done when the skin begins peeling off when you turn it. In fact, with the genuine wild brook trout article, the meat will just about fall from the bones when you turn it. The tail should be crisp, but not burned — ditto fins. (Larger trout may have to be turned on their backs to cook thoroughly, and there is no point in keeping the tail on a trout over 12″ +/-.)
The best way to eat such small trout: hold the fish vertically by the tail and just gently strip the mean away from the bones/backbone with your fork. Crunch the tail and enjoy one of life’s best flavors. Hint: you know your trout are super when the meat is a gentle orange color rather than pasty white.