It sounds contradictory, but you get the most out of trout when you do as little as possible to it. If you get heavy-handed with the spices or add too many components, the trout loses its identity and shines no brighter than any of the other thousands of anonymous species of mild, lean white fish out there. A little lemon juice, a slathering of butter, freshly chopped herbs and a little alone time in the oven give trout a personality of its own — one that seduces the senses from plate to palate.

Things You'll Need

Whole Trout

Heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Take the trout out of the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes.

Place the trout on a cutting board and pack about 1/2 cup to 1 cup of filling in its cavity. Choose lemon slices, thinly sliced vegetables or a tablespoon or two of butter to keep the inside of the trout moist and tender. Add fresh herbs and spices, if you like.

Brush the whole trout on all sides with oil or butter, and season it to taste with kosher salt and herbs. Wrap the filet in aluminum foil, sealing the edges tight.

Place the trout packet in a shallow baking dish, then into the oven. Bake the trout for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the filling reaches 145 F.

Transfer the trout packet to a room-temperature dish and let it sit for a couple minutes so the steam dissipates. Use tongs to carefully open the foil, and be mindful of the steam.

Garnish the trout before serving with a healthy slathering of butter and freshly chopped herbs, if you like.

Trout Fillets

Heat the oven to 400 F and take the trout fillets out of the refrigerator. Pat the fillets dry and let them sit out while the oven warms up.

Lay the trout fillets in an oiled baking dish, flesh-side up if the skin is attached. Season the fillets to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper and brush them with oil or butter.

Lay a piece of parchment paper or foil on top of the trout to prevent them from drying out. Alternatively, cover the top with thinly sliced lemons or vegetables.

Place the dish in the preheated oven. Leave the parchment paper or piece of foil on the fillets while they bake.

Bake the trout fillets for 15 minutes, or until they reach 145 F as measured with an instant-read thermometer.

Take the trout out of the oven and remove the parchment paper or foil and garnish as desired. Serve or remove the vegetable topping as desired.

References and Resources

Delia Online: How to Cook Fish