"...trout that doesn't think two jumps and several runs ahead of the average fisherman is mighty apt to get fried." ~Beatrice Cook, Till Fish Do Us Part, 1949
Mr. G and I are lucky to live fairly close to the Sipsey Fork of the Black Warrior River, where the tailwaters below Smith Dam stay cold enough year-round to support the rainbow trout that have been stocked there regularly since 1974.
Here's a pic of our daughter fly casting on the Sipsey when she came home for a visit last February.
She and Mr. G did manage to catch a few trout then, but trout fishing hasn't been very good for the last few months because the power company turbines have been running full blast making fishing difficult, but when Mr. G read that the turbines were going to be off one day last week, he decided to brave the chilly weather and head for the Sipsey.
He usually butterflies them, removing the backbone and most of the rib bones, but leaving the skin on. Butterflied this way, they can be stuffed, baked, or pan fried.
I decided to pan fry these. Here's how I do it: I prefer not to have them stare at me, so usually cook them without the heads, but that's a personal preference. First, rinse the fish, then dry them thoroughly to prevent the formation of steam as they cook. If you have some clarified butter or ghee on hand, use that; if not, use regular butter tempered with a little olive oil and heat over medium high heat until the butter foam begins to subside. Just before putting the fish in the pan, I dredge them in a mixture of wheat flour and corn flour seasoned with salt and pepper. I prefer corn flour rather than the coarser corn meal as the fish seem to need less cooking time and turn a beautiful golden brown without being crunchy. Cook, turning once until both sides are golden brown and the flesh is cooked through. Most directions say to cook fish until it flakes, but I agree with Julia Child, who said, “if the fish flakes, it is overdone.” Rather, cook it until the fish is "springy." You can test this by pressing it with your figer, but this can be hazardous unless you have asbestos fingertips, so you might want to gently stick a fork in the fish. If the flesh is nearly opaque and the flesh separates easily, it is done. Cooking time varies depending on the size of the fish and your stove, but usually takes about four to six minutes per side.
If you 'd like some blues music while you enjoy your delicious fish, here's Dr. John singing "I'm Gonna Go Fishing" Enjoy!.