Fresh fish is maybe some of the best one can find. Self caught, wild fish that is. Not the crap one can find in shops. However, I never take more than can be consumed “than and there”. I´m no big fan of freezing fish and taking them home.
Fish and other good food deserves a lot of respect. I believe that should prepare these fantastic gifts of nature with the most care possible. I avoid farmed fish by any means though.
This is how one can prepare fresh trout (and char - same procedure). The most known and easiest method is to fry them in a pan on the open fire. Simple and delicious.
However, it´s of course not as simple as it seems. The fire needs to be managed and “designed” for the task. Make sure the pan can be placed save as there is always the risk for tipping the whole thing over into the fire. Frying fish is not cremating it either. There is a difference between cooking (preparing food) and cremating (burning a dead body). Funny how often this fine line is overstepped. It can really bring out the Gordon Ramsey in me. So don´t … at least not when I´m around. Only god knows what can happen …
- You need a frying pan. Nice if you have a lid so the fish can rest a little in the heat without the pan needing to be over the flames. - remember - slow and low temperature is the key.
- A sharp, flexible filleting knive. By the way - many kudos and thanks to the people having shown me how to do this properly, most of all Aksel and Corsin.
- Butter, can be salted if you like that.
- Spices - Pepper, salt, lemon adds a nice touch but don´t overdo it …. In Norway and Sweden one can buy Lemon-Pepper. This is very nice and easy to use. You might find it in your local shop as well. But you can also prepare this yourself quite easily.
Breadcrumbs mix. I have prepared my own secret mix. You need breadcrumbs (please someone help me with the correct term - in German its “Paniermehl” and the Swedes call it “Ströbröd”) This you mix with salt, pepper, wasabi powder, sesame seeds, grill spices, ground lemon skin, and pretty much everything else you like … be creative. This you can and should try at home. Mix and experiment until you have the taste you like. Try it with some fish pieces or just by itself. Fill this mix in a plastic bottle so you can easily pack it and use it by the fire.
You can also use this mix with a small smoker. But also here - low temp and slow is the key to real good nutrition and taste. Don´t burn the poor fish. That´ll be a disgrace (and bring t.z. Ramsey onto the stage)
Clean the fish and fillet it. It helps to do this with a newspaper as cover for the table. The fish does not slide around and you can wrap the remains in the paper and burn it in the fire or dig it into the ground away from your camp.
Should the fish be too small for filleting you can just clean it and fry it as whole. Leave the fillets on the skin. Place the fillets flesh up on a plate and cover with the spices or the spice mix you have prepared. Less is more. Don´t kill the natural tast with too much seasoning.
Put the frying pan with butter on the fire. Don´t let the butter become brown - just melt it a little. Place the fillet as whole or divide it in three pieces skin down into the pan. Fry until the flesh turns white all the way through. Done. There is not need to fry the fillets flesh down. Close the pan with a lid if the pieces are thicker and you want to make sure they are cooked through before the skin burns.
or another option
Trout Wurst (sausage)
Should you not want to consume all the fish right away and save it for later - her´s a trick I learned from a cooking show. Cooking shows are very cool sometimes.
Curing fish with salt and sugar is known as “gravad”. Gravad means “buried”, but not in the ground. The fish is buried in a salt (1/3) and (2/3) sugar mix. This is normally done in larger pans, pots or plastic containers. This is not very practical in a backpack or the limited space scenario. The pans/pots/plastic containers are used to keep the fish from contact with air. You can also achieve this with glad wrap.
This is how it´s done. Fillet the fish and take out all bones from the flesh. Take the fillet off the skin as well.
Roll out a piece of glad wrap and cover it with the salt (1/3) sugar (2/3) mix & spices mix. Place the first fillet on this and cover again with sugar/salt. Place the next fillet on top. It helps to have the tail bit of the fillet on top of the thick side of the fillet under. This makes for a more even package. Cover the whole with salt/sugar. Now roll the whole to a sausage and close the ends. Let this sit in a cool place for 24 hours. Unpack and rinse off the excess salts/sugar "gue" which by then has become liquidised. Pack again in new glad warp. Try to make it has compact as possible and wrap several layers of the plastic around. Let this sit for 24 hours again. The “sausage” is ready for consumption. Serve sliced in 2cm thick slices. Delicious with creme fraiche and small potatoes cooked with their skin.
The salt/sugar mix can be - or better - should be spiced. Be creative here as well. Many use dill, but it works very well with wild oregano and other spices in that direction.
Note - make really sure that no bones are left in the fillets. That is actually most of the work.
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spot the moose ....
and another rise ...
that´s were the big ones are ...
filettet fish ... the color is naturally caused by a diet of insects and small crustecians ...
(not artficially introduced as in farmed fish)
fillet pieces with breadcrumps
breadcrumb mix (in a bottle)
in the pan ...
a lid helps to keep the warmth ... use the fire carefuly to introduce heat to the pan in small portions and remove the pan from the fire frequently to not let it get too hot
and of course - do not forget to cook some coffe ;-)
sorry - no image of the food on a plate - I had no chance as the guests were hungry ....
--- foot notes ---
* - I know of course what C&R is. But b4 this sparks a long and useless discussion about wether it is OK to eat some of the fish one has caught or not, I kindly ask to give this a longer thought. Harvesting is very depending on circumstances like habitat, abundance etc. However, I personally prefer a vegetarian, almost vegan diet and only eat fish which find my fly or game which has met the grill of my car. I stay away from pets and animals raised and kept in captivity - for ethic and health reasons. But that´s me, you do what you prefer.
** about Mr. Ramsey - I like the cooking in his shows, I do not like the screaming and people pushing and I totally disagree with the use of farmed salmon. The man should really think about what he´s doing. Protesting against shark fin soup on one side and than preperaing an environmantal hazard like farmed salmon and announcing this some proper food does not add up in my mind.