Charred and Stuffed

I prepared this dish for friends years ago while I was visiting in England, where trout is abundant. But rest assured, this recipe works very well with so many other whole fish such as; Steelhead, Coho and Artic Char —also a big favorite of mine and a few of my close friends. 

 - The trick with grilling any whole fish is to have a very clean grill; surface-cast iron is my preference, well-seasoned (not salt & pepper) meaning oiled by brushing w/vegetable oil or sprayed with vegetable spray when cold. And that's before lighting the grill. 

- I prefer using lump charcoal for this recipe, but no sweat, a gas grill is OK. Add a couple pieces of soaked wood chips to the grill a few minutes before cooking the fish - it adds another layer of flavor.

- This part is key; the grill must be very hot so the fish does not stick. Also, you’ll notice in this recipe that the fish is brushed with olive oil. Make it look like it just came out of the spa, after a well oiled ayurvedic massage. 

- Use a very wide spatula to turn and remove the trout from grill. 

- Cooking a whole fish. Feeling a little intimidated and insecure? Forget therapy, just do it. You may however: after turning over the trout, add it to a well greased pan and finish grilling inside the pan. But that is if and only if you think you can’t hold it together — I mean the trout together.  

This recipe is really that easy, it's just a step beyond cooking a burger.

Charred Stuffed Trout

Makes 4 servings | From Adventures in Grilling cookbook by George Hirsch with Marie Bianco, ©1996

One 8 ounce salmon fillet
1/2  cup bread crumbs from day-old French or Italian bread
2 Tablespoons mayonnaise, (I prefer the new olive oil mayo)
1 teaspoon fresh dill, chopped
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
Fresh ground black pepper to taste
3 egg whites
6 large shrimp, peeled, deveined, and coarsely chopped
Four 12-tounce rout, cleaned, gutted, and boned
2 Tablespoons olive oil
Pre heat the grill to high.

Process the salmon in a food processor using the on/off button until it is ground but not pureed. Add the bread crumbs, mayonnaise, dill, hot sauce and pepper and blend for 30 seconds. Add the egg whites and mix for 1 minute. Fold in the shrimp with a rubber spatula.

Fill each trout with a quarter of the stuffing. Secure with skewer or toothpick. Brush the trout with the olive oil and grill for 2 minutes on each side. Lower the heat to medium or move the trout to the cooler edges of the grill and cook for 3 to 4 minutes.

Really fresh fish does not require a sauce; just drizzle a small amount of extra virgin olive oil, and drizzle a little fresh lemon- top off with a little fresh dill on top.