One of the most popular to target and to eat inshore fish in the south. The speckled trout (Cynoscion nebulosus) is a delicious white-fleshed fish with a medium flake. It is probably second only to the flounder in popularity as table fare. The speckled trout is a very versatile fish to use for cooking. The only real issues that can occur with this species is that the flesh can be mushy if overcooked and occasionally some fish will have spaghetti worms in the meat.
There are usually only one or two worms in a trout, but when filleting they get cut into multiple pieces. This makes people think the fish are loaded with worms. If you are really squeamish you can just toss the fillets out or cut the worms out. But I would recommend just picking the worms out, they are easy to remove and don’t affect the meat quality. Or, you could just leave them in, once cooked the spaghetti worms are not noticeable. There is no risk of human transmission and there never has been a reported case of fish to human transmission.
In this case, the fillets were worm-free and had excellent fat content. This speckled trout weighed about 2.5 pounds and did have roe. You can clean and pan fry the roe as well, bread with seasoned flour, and fry in butter. Good eating if fish roe is your thing.
Whenever you plan on keeping fish for the table, I really recommend bleeding the fish before it hits the ice. When you reach the boat ramp or dock, gut the fish as soon as possible. This will keep meat better, and drain the most blood out of the fish. Also if you’re planning to travel back with your catch or not eat it right away. It is better to keep the gutted fish whole, this reduces oxygen exposure to fillets and keeps them from going fishy.
When filleting your catch, take the head and collars off before you fillet, it gives you a more level fish to cut. This will make filleting the fish easier on both sides.
After you fillet your speckled trout, I like skin off fillets, but it is up to personal preference. Get all your ingredients together.
Speckled Trout Almandine Recipe
- 1 Speckled Trout filleted and skin off
- 1 cup milk
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon oil
- salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon creole seasoning
- 1/4 cup fresh chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1 lemon juiced
Prepare your fish by first liberally applying salt and fresh ground pepper, then put it aside while you prepare the other ingredients. Pre chop all the parsley and have the lemon juice and almonds ready. Once you start cooking things move fast.
On a plate or tray add the all-purpose flour and then add the creole seasoning. Mix both together evenly, put the prepared flour dredge aside.
With another plate, pour the milk into then add the trout fillets to the milk. Coat the speckled trout fillets completely with the seasoned all-purpose flour.
In a pan large enough to hold the fillets, melt 3 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add the oil, preferably something with a higher smoke point. This is to keep from toasting the butter too quickly. Once up to temp add the fillets of trout and fry both sides till golden.
Once both fillets are cooked, pull them from the pan and place them on your presentation plate. In the pan then add the last 3 Tbsp of butter, and melt them. After the butter is all melted, add in the almonds and toast. Be careful when toasting almonds, they will end one shade darker than when you shut off the heat due to the residual heat in the butter.
Right before the almonds reach the color you want, add the lemon juice and fresh chopped parsley to the pan. Mix the pan sauce altogether, then spoon over the fillets.
Then serve, speckled trout almandine goes well with fresh steamed veggies or a wild rice pilaf if you’re wanting something starchier. A nice fresh loaf of french bread is also very good for dipping in the extra sauce. This is a relatively straightforward dish that can easily be cooked at home that has appearances of fine dining.
Great for keeping the other half happy, when you went fishing again instead of doing lawn work like you said you would.