Other Names: Rainbow trout: Lachsforelle, regenbogenforelle (German); mijimasu, nijimusu (Japanese); péstropha (Greek); regnbueørred (Danish); trota irdea (Italian); trucha arco iris (Spanish); truite arc-en-ciel (French); truta-arco-íris (Portuguese). European sea trout: Aure (Norwegian); deniz alasi (Turkish); forel (Russsian); meerforelle (German); péstrogha thalássis (Greek); salmon trout; steelhead; trota di mare (Italian); trucha marina (Spanish); truite de mer (French); truta marinha (Portuguese); zeeforel (Dutch). Salmonidae.

Rainbow Trout

General Description: The many species of trout, smaller members of the salmon family, mostly live in freshwater lakes and streams. Trout flesh is quite delicate and ranges from ivory to salmon-red with diet and habitat more important to its character than species. Wild-caught trout can be exquisite, and while farmed trout can have good flavor and firm texture, poorly produced trout can be mushy and muddy. Idaho produces 70 percent of American farmed trout.

Brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis_) are native to eastern North America but have been widely transplanted and farmed. Wild brook trout are considered by many to be the best-tasting trout. The brown trout (Salmo trutta_) was the original European trout transplanted to America in the nineteenth century. They live in lakes and streams or migrate to the sea, where they are called sea trout or salmon trout, and are considered a delicacy in Europe. They are not the same as the American sea trout, or weakfish. Dolly Varden trout (Salvelinus malma) are large, troutlike char closely related to brook and lake trout and usually found in cold mountain streams. Their flesh is delicious and often pink in color.

Steelhead Trout

Lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush_) are netted in cold-water lakes of northern North America. Their oil content varies greatly, so they range from delicious to too oily. These large fish are well-suited to hot-smoking. Rainbow trout (_Oncorhynchus mykiss, called Salmo gairdneri until 1989), originated in the American West and are often used to stock rivers and streams there. When ocean-going, they are called steelheads and are even more highly prized. Rainbow trout are farm-raised in the oldest American aquaculture industry, dating back to the 1880s. All rainbow trout sold
in America are farm-raised.

Locale and Season: Rainbow trout are farmed in the United States, Argentina, Chile, western Europe, and Japan. Late
spring and early summer are their best seasons; they grow more slowly in winter. Steelhead are farm-raised and harvested year-round in eastern Canada. Dolly Vardens range from Korea to the Bergen Sea and across to Oregon.

Characteristics: Whole trout have more flavor than boned trout. Brown trout can weigh up to 40 pounds, but freshwater
fish average 1 to 2 pounds, ocean-going fish 4 to 5 pounds. Farm-raised rainbow trout weigh 12 to 16 ounces and have soft, flaky meat with delicate, nutty, herbal flavor. Steelhead may grow to 12 pounds; 2 to 4 pounds is average. Cooked, the meat is ivory with fine flake, delicate flavor, and moderate fat.

How to Choose: Trout is covered by a layer of transparent slime. The more slippery the fish, the fresher it is. They are available fresh, frozen, smoked, whole, or filleted (boned or boneless). “Boned” does not mean boneless, but rather that the backbone has been removed. “Boneless” means the pin bones have been removed.

Storage: Trout is one of the longest-lasting freshwater fish and can be stored refrigerated for 2 to 3 days.


1. Trout have such tiny scales that there’s no need for
scaling; the fish should be rinsed and dried. The tiny pin bones can be picked out at the table.

2. Bake, broil, grill, poach, sauté, or hot-smoke.

Suggested Recipe: Pan-Fried Trout with Green Grapes (serves 4): Season 4 butterflied bone-in or boned trout with salt and pepper. Dust with flour and sauté in 2 tablespoons each walnut oil and butter. Cook 3 minutes per side, or until almost opaque, covering the pan to cook through. Remove the fish from the pan and keep warm. Add 1 cup halved seedless green grapes and sauté until caramelized, about 3 minutes, add a squeeze of lemon, swirl to combine with pan juices, and serve over trout.

Flavor Affinities: Almond, bacon, butter, capers, carrot, celery, chervil, chive, lemon, mint, orange, pine nut, scallion, shallot, tarragon, thyme, tomato, walnut, white wine.

from Quirk Books: