Send Your Recipes!

June 13th, 2005

Spring fever? Thinking about the first camping of the season? Time to change gears again! How about some good camp food. What are you hungry for? Send your favorite recipes to us!

Baked Trout with Garlic and Tarragon Butter
by Joan Over, Clarenville Newfoundland Canada

My wife, Joan Over, is an accomplished cook. Here is her easy and elegant recipe for Baked Trout with Garlic and Tarragon Butter. Joan has also started a weblog with recipes from her weekly food column "In Joan's Kitchen"

all the best, John King (jking)

I love growing culinary herbs and, even in winter, have pots of various kinds in my kitchen. Herbs activate the senses and, when fresh, the oils that create their characteristic flavours are at their most intense.

One of my favourite herbs is tarragon and, now that I have a good supply in the garden, I use it often. It's particularly good with chicken and fish and is a wonderful complement to butter, adding a pleasant aroma and a cleansing, almost licorice-like layer of flavour. It's also a powerful addition to infused vinegars and béarnaise, hollandaise and mayonnaise sauces.

If you intend to grow tarragon, be forewarned that it's the French variety you want. It must be grown from cuttings because it does not produce seed, but it's a perennial plant and will reward you by multiplying each year. Russian tarragon, which can be grown from seed, is harsh-tasting and far inferior.

When John, an avid fisherman, came home with some beautiful iridescent trout a few weekends ago, I decided to bake rather than pan-fry them as I usually do. With fresh tarragon in the garden and some garlic purée left from the sauce I'd made for grilled eggplant the evening before, I came up with this recipe. The trout were delicious hot out of the oven, but equally good, perhaps even better, served cold the next day. Because the butter is applied only to the skin of the fish, it adds flavour without affecting the sweet subtleness of the flesh.


    8 small (5- to 6-ounce) or 4 larger (10- to 12-ounce) trout

    Salt and freshly ground black pepper

    1 whole head fresh garlic cloves, separated and peeled

    1/3 cup butter, plus extra for preparing dish

    2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

    1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh tarragon leaves

    Lemon wedges

    Whole sprigs of tarragon


Preheat the oven to 400º F.

Clean the trout and wash them well. Cut off the fins close to the body, but leave the tail on. You can also leave the head on if you wish. Dry the fish and sprinkle a little salt and pepper inside each cavity.

Put the garlic cloves in a small saucepan and cover them with lightly salted water. Bring the water to a boil and boil for about 20 minutes, or until the garlic is very tender. Drain the garlic in a fine sieve. Then, using the back of a spoon, push the garlic through the sieve back into the saucepan. Add the butter to the garlic purée and heat the mixture gently just until the butter is melted. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the lemon juice and tarragon.

Butter a shallow baking dish that will just hold the trout comfortably in one layer. Lay the trout side by side in the dish. Pour the garlic-butter mixture evenly over the fish. Bake for 15 to 25 minutes depending on the size of the trout, basting once or twice with the accumulated butter in the dish. (The fish should flake easily when tested with a knife at the thickest part, but do not overcook.)

When the trout are done, use a wide spatula to transfer them to a heated platter or individual plates. Garnish the trout with lemon wedges and a few sprigs of tarragon.

Makes 4 servings. ~ Joan Over

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