Last weekend Alejandro and I had the opportunity to go white water rafting in Browns Canyon near Salida, CO, and we had a blast. We made the trip with his dad and Paul, a family friend who has his own raft. Paul has been rafting for decades, and is definitely a pro as navigating the river. Because we weren’t with a commercial rafting company, we were able to have a cooler full of snacks and beers with us, and more importantly, could stop to fish as much as we wanted.
Alejandro, his dad, and especially Paul, are all excellent fisherman. Though I pride myself as being decent at fishing, river fishing is still somewhat new to me. Growing up in Kansas, I often went fishing with my grandpa, who would take me to ponds on his company’s land. I still have fond memories of him teaching me to fish, and also of hanging out with the cows and playing with frogs in the mud when I got bored of fishing. Being the odd, bug-obsessed girl that I am, I often insisted on catching grasshoppers to use as bait. Gooood memories. When I started my freshman year of college in Utah, Alejandro was actually the one who introduced me to river fishing, and he helped me catch my first trout.
Along with adjusting to river fishing, eating fish whole was also something new to me. Leaving the head and tail on the fish didn’t bother me, but it was definitely different than what I was used to. Growing up, my grandpa filleted any fish we caught, and we also usually deep fried it. Though I think I still prefer fish prepared this way (I mean, it’s fried. Can’t really go wrong there.), I’ve grown to love baked trout. The fresh flavor is lovely, and I appreciate how easy the prep is. We often catch fish while camping, and wrapping the fish in the little foil boats is perfect for throwing on the fire.
This method of cooking trout is super simple and economical, and the recipe can easily be adjusted according to preference. Subbing fresh dill in place of the rosemary and thyme is another good option.
2 whole cleaned trout
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. lemon pepper
1 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
1 clove garlic, minced
4 slices of lemon, halved
1 tsp. butter, cut into small pieces
1. Preheat oven to 400 ºF. Lay out two pieces of foil, each a few inches longer than the trout and three times as wide. Thoroughly rinse the inside cavity of each trout, then place them on top of the foil pieces. Combine salt, lemon pepper, rosemary, and thyme. Sprinkle the mixture inside the cavity of each trout, then sprinkle on the garlic. Place 3 halved lemon slices in each cavity, then top slices with butter.
2. With one hand, hold trout with the cavity facing upwards. With your other hand, pull up the foil at the long edges so that it is flush with the sides of the trout. Crimp the two edges together, then fold up and crimp the ends of the foil by the head and tail.
3. Depending on the size of the trout, bake for 20-30 minutes, until flesh flakes easily with a fork and the eyes of the fish are white. Serve with remaining halved lemon slices.
Yield: 2 servings