Pan Fried Rainbow Trout with Smoked Butter Tomato Sauce

Pan Fried Trout with Smoked Butter Tomato Sauce

Recipe contribute by Editor in Chief J. Townsend

While exploring the San Bernardino Mountains this past weekend, we decided to engage ourselves in a little trout fishing at the head waters of the Santa Ana River. There are a number of types of trout found in this stream, including farm raised rainbows, wild rainbows, brook, and what I believe was an elusive German Brown Trout. The fish up there are a little stubborn, uninterested, or just plain picky. We saw several fish and presented numerous flies but, thankfully, ended up landing one fish.

This recipe I will keep fairly simple. The inspiration was found in a sea trout dish I ate in Dublin, Ireland a few years back. The meal was so delicious that I wrote the restaurant to inquire about its preparation. The restaurant reported back that they use smoked butter which was the distinct flavor I enjoyed. 

I have since then conducted some research on smoking butter and found out that it is a pretty common process. Most people either cold smoke butter in a smoker using pellets or they buy a small kitchen tool which generates the smoke.
My idea came as a more simple approach with the same result. You essentially must seal off the butter in a container of smoke for anywhere from 30 minutes up to several hours depending on the level of smoke you want to achieve.

Unfortunately you cannot simply throw the butter in a hot smoker or it will melt and separate, leaving you with a mess. You can smoke butter next time you are using your smoker to make other items. You simple must funnel some of the smoke from the smoke stack into a sealable container and allow the butter to sit in this container in your refrigerator until it seems smoky enough. I allowed my butter to sit for two hours and it came out very tasty. I invite you to try this with a stick of butter next time you smoke. The most difficult part is funneling the smoke into the container, but you all are pretty creative so I imagine you will invent something.

I served my trout up with some mashed sweet potatoes and pan fried squash. The creaminess of the sweet potatoes and the crunch of the squash paired will with the smooth and delicate flavor of the trout and smoked butter sauce.

Ingredients:
2 trout, filleted with the skin on
1 cup of all-purpose flour
Salt and ground white pepper for seasoning
Oil for frying
1 stick of smoked butter (see instructions above)
3 tablespoons of tomato sauce
3 cloves of garlic, peeled

Preparation:
1. Bring you oil to heat in a large pan over medium-high heat
2. Season amply each side of the trout fillets with the salt and ground white pepper
3. Dredge the fillets in the flour and place skin side down in the pan
4. Allow the skin to cook until it becomes crispy, then gently flip the fish over
5. Allow to cook until the meat side becomes a golden brown color
6. Remove and place on a paper or cloth towel
7. Heat a small sauce pan over medium heat
8. Stir in your tomato sauce and garlic cloves
9. Season to taste with salt and ground white pepper
10. Cut your butter into 6 pieces and add them all to the pan
11. Gently shake the pan back and forth as the butter melts. This will cream your sauce
12. Plate your fillets and ladle your sauce over the top of the trout fillets

Pan Fried Trout with Smoked Butter Tomato Sauce closeup

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