I used to eat a lot of seafood. And by a “lot” I mean like six out of seven days a week. I grew up eating salmon my uncle would catch from the various outlets in Alaska, trout he’d catch from the rivers throughout western Oregon, and crab. Lots of Dungeness crab that he’d bring in on his boat after a long day battling the cold Pacific ocean. And as I got older, my love for seafood stuck with me. My tastes evolved and I learned to LOVE shellfish. Clams. Mussels. Oysters. I was never a big fan of shrimp or lobster or calamari, but I didn’t need to be—I mean it’s a big, big ocean and there’re so many options.
I used to eat cold tuna straight from the can (and yes, I even drank the juice!).
Over the years I went back and forth with the whole wild-caught vs. farm-raised debate. On one hand, I completely agree with the ethical stance behind only eating wild-caught fish. But, I also find it a bit ridiculous when people won’t eat farmed seafood, but they will eat other types of farm animals. I mean what gives?
For the record, I do not eat beef, poultry or pork … but, while I do follow a plant-based diet, I still occasionally eat seafood. Though I am VERY selective. I watch what the Marine Stewardship Council puts out and I pay attention to the recommendations from Seafood Watch. And I won’t purchase seafood from an unknown source or from a company (or store) that can’t verify its origin. Now, with all that being said, let’s regress for a moment and go back to the whole wild-caught vs. farm-raised debate.
Wild-caught vs. farm-raised
Generally speaking, I only eat wild-caught seafood and I will not eat Atlantic salmon. But, I do think what this New Zealand company is doing by sustainably, ethically breeding it’s Ora King salmon is commendable and I will eat their product. Likewise, the Norwegian company, Nordic Blu, produces high-quality, organic farmed salmon that is raised in a sustainable manner making its fish a winner-winner too.
So … a few weeks ago we were in CostCo and in addition to a few other selections, I grabbed a package of whole trout. Honestly, I don’t know what I was thinking. Because clearly it was farm-raised. But I love cooking whole fish and I just spaced checking the label. The next day when I was getting ready to cook it, Eric said something to me about it being farmed and I nearly lost it. OMG. I mean duh! The packaging is clearly labeled, as is required by law, but again, I just spaced it. What to do? What to do? Remembering that almost all farmed trout is from Idaho, and that there are many reputable farms in the state, we went ahead and cooked it—and it was sublime! (See below.) But I was a little uneasy.
So … the next day I proceeded to contact CostCo and was very happy when not only one, but two different people looked into it for me and I was contacted directly by a team representative who had confirmed that yes, the trout they sell is raised in Idaho and yes, the farm is exactly what/who I thought (and hoped). And so, I, you, we can all rest easy knowing that the farmed trout CostCo sells is A’OK to consume. Note, I am not referring to steelhead. Here’s an easy peasy way to pan fry trout that you will absolutely love : )
Pan-Fried Whole Trout
PREP TIME: 20 minutes | COOK TIME:
- 3-4 whole trout (or other similar fish), cleaned
- Lemon slices
- Garlic cloves
- Fresh herbs, I like using rosemary
- 1 stick butter, preferably plant-based
- 4-5 TBS olive Oil
- ½ cup flour
- ¼ cup cornmeal
Rinse trout and gently pat dry with paper towels. Combine flour and corn meal in a shallow dish and one at a time, dredge fish in mixture. Set aside and stuff each fish with lemon slices, garlic cloves and rosemary. Heat butter and oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Carefully place fish in pan, and cook for 1 minute. Turn heat down to medium and continue cooking for another 5 minutes. Flip fish over and cook for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and serve with additional lemon slices should you wish. Watch out for bones, trout are notoriously spiny and the bones are very small. Enjoy!