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Old 01-13-2007, 10:45 AM   #1
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Flavor of Trout

I have a confession, of sorts. I have never tasted Rainbow or German Brown Trout.

I would appreciate someone's attempt to profile the flavor. Since they are both salmonids I was wondering if they bear a resemblence to the Salmon we are familiar with?

I realize it would be easy to just buy some and taste, but I would appreciate your input to the question.

I am quite familiar with most ocean fish. I love Halibut and Dolphin. I appreciate Red Snapper, Orange Roughy, Cod and others. Catfish I don't seek out, but do not actively avoid. Bass/Crappie/Blue Gill and others I pass on.

What is Trout like? Fishy? Bland? Does it take up cooking flavor like some do, e.g., assumes the flavor of the oil, garlic, etc...?

Your experience would be valued.

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Old 01-13-2007, 11:10 AM   #2
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Hopz, I have only tasted Rainbow trout which is easily available here. I may be wrong (in which case I do expect a few members to jump all over me), but it may very well be that brown German trout is not readily available at the supermarket. Therefore, my comments refer to Rainbow trout.

As you have guessed, the taste is nearer to salmon than any of the other fish you mentioned. My DH is a trout lover and he will only have it either pan-fried in olive oil or grilled and served Greek-style with olive oil and lemon. He insists that cooking it in any way will overwhelm the fine natural taste of trout. As a result, I almost always pan-fry or grill. A minor variation would be to add some chopped walnuts to the hot oil during frying. The trout could then be served pan-fried as usual or with a sauce made out of the oil and chopped walnuts with the addition of some thickening agent such as cornflour poured over it.

In my opinion, the similarity to salmon is not all that great as trout has a lighter and finer taste than most kinds of salmon.
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Old 01-13-2007, 11:23 AM   #3
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Here in the U.S., I find the taste of trout blander than bland. But having been raised on the shores of Long Island Sound in NY, I am definitely biased towards sal****er fish.

The few times a year I make trout, I either stuff it with a handful of fresh sage, roll it in a salt/flour mixture to make a crust, & saute it in a hot extra-virgin olive oil/butter combo; or make sure I'm serving it with some type of light but flavorful sauce. In my opinion, it needs it.
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Old 01-13-2007, 11:29 AM   #4
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Breezy, just out of curiosity, do you ever eat mackerel? If yes, how do you find the taste?

This is not a trick question. Obviously, our tastes differ quite a bit and the mackerel question is just to help me gauge the extent of the difference.
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Old 01-13-2007, 11:49 AM   #5
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An enthusiastic YES Boufa - I not only eat Mackerel, but really enjoy it. Bluefish too. Husband, however, hates it, so I only make it for myself.

There is absolutely no comparison between Mackerel & Trout. They're as different as night & day. Literally. Mackerel is a very strong-flavored fish (which accounts for all that great Omega 3 oil it has), while (in my opinion) trout is virtually tasteless. I'd compare trout to a blander version of catfish or flounder, if that helps at all.

I usually cook Mackerel &/or Bluefish one of two ways: either slathered with a mustard sauce, or "Greek" style - with a layer of thinly sliced red onions, feta cheese, kalamata olives, oregano, etc. A lot fish can't stand up to such strong flavors, but both Mackerel & Bluefish really shine with them.
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Old 01-13-2007, 12:00 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BreezyCooking
An enthusiastic YES Boufa - I not only eat Mackerel, but really enjoy it. Bluefish too. Husband, however, hates it, so I only make it for myself.

There is absolutely no comparison between Mackerel & Trout. They're as different as night & day. Literally. Mackerel is a very strong-flavored fish (which accounts for all that great Omega 3 oil it has), while (in my opinion) trout is virtually tasteless. I'd compare trout to a blander version of catfish or flounder, if that helps at all.

I usually cook Mackerel &/or Bluefish one of two ways: either slathered with a mustard sauce, or "Greek" style - with a layer of thinly sliced red onions, feta cheese, kalamata olives, oregano, etc. A lot fish can't stand up to such strong flavors, but both Mackerel & Bluefish really shine with them.
Breezy, thanks for your answer. Of course, it should be quite obvious that no similarity between mackerel and trout was implied. The reason I asked the question was because I have heard quite a few Americans opine that mackerel is inedible. I do love mackerel too. As I said, I was only trying to gauge the extent of our differences in taste with respect to fish. Now I am rather befundled. Could it be that the taste of trout is our only difference in this area?
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Old 01-13-2007, 12:08 PM   #7
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Here in Califonia, I grew up catching rainbow and german brown trout in mountain streams. The german brown I don't remember much and it is not usually available in stores and it's scares in streams now. The rainbow was my favorite fish as a child and young adult. It was a yes mild fish, but it had a smooth slightly sweet taste,depending on what it had been feeding on.We, only had it during summer months when on vacation and my mom use to dip it in flour, egg then flour and pan fry it in olive oil with salt and pepper and usually fried potatoes and biscuits that kind of thing. You couldn't do much else on a wood burning cast iron stove in the mountains. And yet, it's one of the things I remember from those days, catching that trout and cleaning it, then mom cooking it for dinner or breakfast. I really feel what the trout feeds on determines it's taste when cooked.
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Old 01-13-2007, 12:09 PM   #8
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You know, I'm thinking that as far as trout "tasting like salmon", you may be thinking of what's known here as "Salmon Trout" - aka "Steelhead Trout". The meat is pink/red like salmon, & has a similar taste, & I believe (although don't hold me to this) that these fish spend a part of their lives in salt water like regular salmon.

Freshwater trout like the Browns, Rainbows, Brooks, etc., etc., definitely do not taste ANYTHING like salmon. They are a bland white fish, closer - as I said before - to catfish or flounder.
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Old 01-13-2007, 12:16 PM   #9
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Another reason why I don't eat much trout is because around here it's all "farmed", & I have issues with that.

We visited a couple of trout farms in the area, & the fish were all swimming in small ponds full of their own you-know-what. It was rather disturbing. Especially when one considers these folks are supplying all the local fish counters. I have a LOT of trouble getting past that.

Plus - these farmed trout sometimes escape into the wild (just like farmed salmon), & there have been problems with this environmentally.
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Old 01-13-2007, 12:28 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BreezyCooking
...as far as trout "tasting like salmon", you may be thinking...
Breezy, who/where in this thread said that trout tastes like salmon?
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Old 01-13-2007, 12:33 PM   #11
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Quote:
I would appreciate someone's attempt to profile the flavor. Since they are both salmonids I was wondering if they bear a resemblence to the Salmon we are familiar with?
Boufa this was the original poster's question. I apologize - I confused you with the original poster.
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Old 01-13-2007, 12:50 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BreezyCooking
Boufa this was the original poster's question. I apologize - I confused you with the original poster.
No problem, Breezy!
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Old 01-13-2007, 04:04 PM   #13
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Original Poster here...
I live in the mountain west. Love to fly fish. Catch nice Rainbows and Browns all the time. They are certainly not endangered or threatened here at all.

I am mostly catch and release, but some streams and rivers here are so productive the Dept of Natural Resources asks us to keep up to our limit if we want to.

I'm not going kill a fish unless I'm going eat it... so I was wondering. Didn't want to take a fish and cook it unless I thought I would like it. Seems to me a fish fry is getting ready to happen.

OBTW used to live in Florida east coast. Caught many, many Dolphin (refuse to call them Mahi-Mahi) they were wonderful on the table. Also many mackerel there- both Spanish and Kings. Kings were ok, but didn't like them enough to kill them. Spanis also ok, but required special treatment to make them truly tasty- like soak in milk, then lightly smoked/baked under a layer of Green Goddes salad dressing. Then there was grouper... now that was good eat'n.
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Old 01-14-2007, 08:21 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BreezyCooking
You know, I'm thinking that as far as trout "tasting like salmon", you may be thinking of what's known here as "Salmon Trout" - aka "Steelhead Trout". The meat is pink/red like salmon, & has a similar taste, & I believe (although don't hold me to this) that these fish spend a part of their lives in salt water like regular salmon.

Freshwater trout like the Browns, Rainbows, Brooks, etc., etc., definitely do not taste ANYTHING like salmon. They are a bland white fish, closer - as I said before - to catfish or flounder.
Thanks for the interestig information, Breezy. Somehow all the trout I have come across apparantely have been this "salmon trout", they are lightly pink and salmon like flavour, but more delicate and light. I quite like them and and all this time I thought they were "regular rainbow trouts", as they do look kinda alike.... however from what you said, probably it was for the better that I only have experience with "salmon trouts"!
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Old 01-14-2007, 08:37 AM   #15
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Hopz, trout taken fresh from a river will taste extremely good. One of my favourite ways to cook them is to gut them, lightly dust with flour and then fry in butter with a little bacon or cured ham. Otherwise, you can bake them as is, perhaps with a little coarse salt sprinkled on them, in the oven. Delicious either way and well worth trying. If you have a smoker, you could also try smoking them to see whether you like it that way as well.
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Old 01-14-2007, 09:56 AM   #16
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Trout farms where they are swimming in their own stuff are just for the "thrill" of catching. A real trout hatchery is in a running stream and very very clean.
Trout has no salmon flavor that I can detect. It is very mild tasting. If you make the mistake of trying to eat one from the first mentioned ponds, it will taste muddy and musky!!
We did have a trout from a stream in the Grand Tetons that was as orange as salmon--still tasted like trout!!
Brown trout are usually game fish and can't be sold to my knowledge. We are catch and release fisherpeople so I don't know how they taste. I have tasted brook trout--equally mild.
Blue fish is delicious broiled!! We also like the steak fish like mackerel and blues--but they are strong and oily. I have smoked mackerel and it is really good.

Just read Breezy's last post. I personally would not equate trout to flounder or catfish (especially--very fatty fish). Has a different flavor--but we all know, that is a personal thing.
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Old 01-14-2007, 11:25 AM   #17
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I love Rainbow Trout! It's tender, sweet and succulent. As mentioned above, the best way to prepare it is pan-fried, with only a small amount of coating.
I don't think it tastes anything like salmon, which I also love, and certainly not like catfish, which, IMO has overtones of motor oil.
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Old 09-22-2015, 03:07 AM   #18
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Please forgive me for re-igniting an old post.

I have worked quite a bit with trout, both brown and rainbow as well as a few other variations not to be limited to fresh or salt water.
I have also worked with mackerel equally. Not to say i am an expert on the subject, i certainly am not and the information i provide is only true in my perception.

Rainbow trout is indeed the most readily available of the trout species depending on you location. If you live near costal waters you will likely see saltwater trout species commonly but of the fresh water species rainbow is most common. This is due to trout farming as mentioned above in another post. More on farmed vs. wild later. brown trout tends to not survive farming conditions, this is here-say information i have been told, not based on any experience or reading. I prefer brown trout over rainbow, so much so that i often travel north to washington and canada to fish for it, rainbow trout the only trou you will find in texas, though i have seen one brown trout, that was one time out of countless fishing adventures. Up north brown trout are more abundant but rainbow still win in numbers. (I used to throw rainbow back out of determination to catch brown). Time to answer the question though. When profiling the flavor of fish you must first imagine the habitat; if possible. Habitat has a huge impact on flavor of fish, this is why i dont bother with farmed fish at grocery stores. My rule of thumb (edit: i don't always follow this rule there are exceptions). when selecting a place to fish is based on weather or not i would drink the water the fish lives in. A small murky pond will give the fish a very fishy almost polutted flavor. A clean stream will have a crisp taste in white flaky fish like trout, allowing the rich oily flavors to really shine through. Trout are very oily and rich in omegas, not as much so as mackerel, but not far off. Brown trout to me is best descriped as a light, flaky fish where the meat has woody, and nutty undertones. While rainbow tends to be just as flaky but not as oily or meaty as the ladder. The undertones translates more as a grassy citus flavor. My favorite preparations for trout both rainbow and brown include sauteed hot and fast on a cast iron skillet with lightly browned butter, a pinch of salt, white pepper, and thyme finished with a squeeze of lemon peel (not juice, i want the oils in the peel). Sometimes my fishing trips are too generous and i catch more that i can eat that night and because brown trout is a special treat for me i just cant let it go unless its undersized. When this happens i will cure it, smoke it, salt it, or pickle it. I always use fins, organs, heads and bones to make a fermented fish sauce with shitake or woodear mushrooms. (Edit: trout skin should be left on and eaten with the fish. Its where most of the fat on that fish is and when cooked properly has a more jellyish texture between the skin and meat).

On mackerel, one of my favorites from the see, try pickling in a hot brine using apple cider, not only will this preserve it for a few extra days but the oils and the acidity make a interesting combo, you can add spices and herbs for flavoring.

Wild vs. farm- as said above farm raise is some icky stuff, the fish is swimming with so many other fish, not enough movement, no fast flowing streams to give it that clean flavor and to build strong muscle which creates all those yummy healthy fish oils. Wild fish feed on insects that have been feeding on surrounding vegetationsuchas fruits, nuts, and some cases the sap and bark of trees, imparting a very pleasant flavor that skips right over your head if you don't look for it.
The times i make excemptions to my rule of thumb is when im in a densely wooded national park, and i come across a decent sized undesturbed quite pond with insects swarming over the surface and a stream or river near by with the flood plane. When i see this i know there are trout, tramp and fattening on an abundant food supply. This habitat gives the brown trout an almost greenish hue to it (trouts colors change slightly due to environment because they are stealth predators relying on camoflage). The flavor becomes more intense, fishier, not as crisp, but with more intense underlying flavors of woody nuttiness. The best way i can describe it is wildly rustic. I serve this at dinner parties when i find it. Saute whole(organs removed) with salt and butter until a crispy gold brown crusted has formed, i place the fish in a shallow bowl shaped platter or saucer and then pour a broth of bay leaves and sticks, lichen, reindeer moss, rosemary, thyme, wild mushrooms (morel) and the 2 secret ingredients (white oak leaves and grape leaves) into the bottom of the dish table side to create a aroma that smells like the forest and impart a very umami and foresty flavor to the fish.
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Old 09-22-2015, 07:59 AM   #19
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Rainbow trout and steelhead trout are the exact same species.
They each have a different 'lifestyle' that's all.
Steelhead live some of their lives in the sea and so their diet is different during that time so the taste of the flesh is different.
Steelhead IMO have a better/stronger flavor and firmer texture than rainbows. Steelhead tend to grow larger than rainbows.
I catch rainbows year round. I now only hot smoke them. They make tasty 'jerky' but basically all the flavor comes from the brine and smoke.
I VERY low and slow poached steelhead in clarified butter. No other flavors added except S&P.
My favorite freshwater species of trout flavor-wise is the Kokanee. It's a land-locked sockeye salmon.
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Old 09-22-2015, 09:39 AM   #20
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Rainbow trout and steelhead trout are the exact same species.
They each have a different 'lifestyle' that's all.
Steelhead live some of their lives in the sea and so their diet is different during that time so the taste of the flesh is different.
Steelhead IMO have a better/stronger flavor and firmer texture than rainbows. Steelhead tend to grow larger than rainbows.
I catch rainbows year round. I now only hot smoke them. They make tasty 'jerky' but basically all the flavor comes from the brine and smoke.
I VERY low and slow poached steelhead in clarified butter. No other flavors added except S&P.
My favorite freshwater species of trout flavor-wise is the Kokanee. It's a land-locked sockeye salmon.
If yuou love the flavor of steelhead, as I do, try this little trick that I found by being simply lazy one night. Take a generous steehead fillet that is frozen solid, and drop it into 360' oil, completely naked. Deep fry for ten minutes. Remove and lightly season with S & P. The skin is crispy, like a potato chip. The flesh has a very thin, crispy layer that is again so very tasty. The inner flesh is pure steelhead, with nothing to overpower the natural flavor.

This preparation blew me away. It was so wonderfully tasty, and is suited for the trout purist, as there are no other flavors except for the trout, no batter, or flour, or heavy seasonings, or citrus, or anything other than pure steelhead flavor. I was so impressed with the flavor that this is my go-to way of preparing steelhead now. I grew up eating rainbows, and brookies, dredged in flour, and pan fried in oil. I love this preparation as well. It is messier though.

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