In the opening chapter of Trout Fishing in America, Richard Brautigan spoke of his stepfather, saying “he had a way of describing trout as if they were a precious and intelligent metal.” And most anglers wouldn’t feel that Brautigan was overstating the mystique of these members of the Salmonidae family. In fact, it’s likely that more paeans have been written to trout — be they rainbows, browns, brookies, Dolly Vardens, goldens or any of the other various true trouts, chars or salmon — than to any other group of fishes.
Perhaps part of the charm, at least in many sections of the United States, is that trout season opens in the very early spring, making it the start of the angling year for great numbers of enthusiastic fisherfolk. In parts of New York State, for example, it’s common to see men and women lined up elbow to elbow on opening day — despite the fact that snow often spots the spring fields and the still pools are likely to be rimmed with ice.
In addition to carrying the aura of legend, being sometimes almost heartbreakingly beautiful and having a well-deserved reputation as flashy and powerful fighters when hooked on tackle suiting their size, trout are also, in the minds of many people, one of the finest foods that swim. The following trout recipes, adapted from Fresh Foods Country Cookbook, are offered to help you celebrate the anglers’ rite of spring with a delectable meal — whether your catch is the stuff of a streamside supper or the centerpiece of a full-scale sit-down banquet!