If you ask me, it’s practically sacrilegious to come back with fresh fish in the cooler and not cook up some for dinner. Between unloading the gear, filleting the fish, downing a brew, and all the other essential post-fishing chores, there often isn’t much time to get fancy. This recipe is quick, easy, and tastes like something that kept you in the kitchen all day.
Speckled trout actually aren’t trout at all, rather members of the drum family. So it should come as no surprise, that they cook up nicely. Their meat is white and flakey, with a softer texture than most inshore species. These highly sought-after fish can be found in the coastal waters of the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico.
It’s safe to say anglers have been known to stretch the truth from time to time. This go-around, I’ll spare you the exaggeration. ‘Specks’ are popular with anglers for a handful of reasons; they’re beautifully colored with purple and yellow hues; their dental work is next to none, and they’re delicious – especially when fried. While they might not peel drag or take you into your backing very often, I’ll give it to them – they do have some fight. If that’s not enough to pique your interest, there’s also always the chance of landing that 30-inch gator some folks spend a lifetime chasing. Fish of that caliber aren’t common, but they’re around. If you’re fortunate enough to land one please consider releasing it, as it is almost certainly a mature female. Besides, I think the smaller ones taste better anyway.
Cleaning Speckled Trout:
As with all self-harvested protein, the quality of your meal begins with the care you implement in the field. I’m a big fan of bleeding fish. To do this, slit the gills with a knife or a pair of scissors while the fish is underwater. It’s important the fish is submerged to encourage ample blood flow and prevent coagulation. This technique kills the fish quickly and removes a large volume of blood from the flesh, resulting in a cleaner taste. I bleed every fish I keep, not just speckled trout. It’s worth noting that speckled trout are best cooked fresh and don’t freeze particularly well. So, if you’ve got a couple on hand, it’s time to get busy.
Until next time, enjoy & good luck out there!
Pecan Crusted Speckled Trout Recipe:
- 4 speckled trout fillets, skinless (any fish with mild white meat can be substituted)
- 0.5 teaspoon dried thyme
- 0.5 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 0.25 tablespoon chardonnay infused sea salt
- 0.25 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning
- 0.5 teaspoon black pepper
- 0.5 teaspoon garlic powder
- 0.5 teaspoon onion powder
- 0.5 teaspoon paprika
- 0.5 tablespoon brown sugar
- 0.25 cup flour
- 0.25 cup Panko breadcrumbs
- 0.5 cup finely ground pecans (you can purchase ground pecans, or grind whole pecans in a food processor)
- 2 eggs
- Olive oil, enough to coat the bottom of your pan
- Butter, enough to coat the bottom of your pan
- Hot sauce (whatever brand you like)
- 1 lemon, for topping
- Fresh parsley or thyme, for topping
- Season the fillets with thyme, rosemary, chardonnay-infused sea salt, Old Bay, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and brown sugar.
- Combine the flour, Panko breadcrumbs, and ground pecans in a bowl.
- In a separate bowl crack two eggs and stir into egg wash. Add a few drops of hot sauce.
- Quickly dunk the seasoned fillets into the egg wash, then dredge in flour/Panko/pecan mixture.
- Add butter and olive oil to a pan and apply medium heat.
- Fry until golden brown – about 3 minutes per side.
- Drizzle with squeezed lemon and top with fresh parsley or thyme.
Lemon Pepper Asparagus Recipe:
- 1 pound asparagus, ends trimmed
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 0.5 teaspoon chardonnay infused sea salt
- 0.5 teaspoon dried chopped onions
- 0.75 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 lemon, juiced
- Toss asparagus in olive oil and lemon juice. Season with chardonnay-infused sea salt and dried chopped onions.
- Sautee in a pan over medium heat for 8-10 minutes. Add additional olive oil to the pan as needed.
- Remove and season with freshly cracked black pepper.
Article by Kirk Marks, an angler, photographer, and culinary aficionado based in Kent Island, Maryland. Give him a follow at @kirkymarks.
Many thanks to Chasing Tides Collective for providing some top-notch imagery. Give them a follow at @chasingtidesco.