One of the things I miss most about being near my grandmothers and my home in Chicago is a good fish fry. Of course you can find them just about everywhere, but everyone does food their own way and when I have a craving for fried fish—which isn’t often—I want it the way my taste buds remember it.
So I decided to make use of some whole rainbow trout I came by at the supermarket to make my own fish fry, complete with farm fresh corn on the cob.
The key to any good fish fry is the seasoning and breading ingredients. Fish breading isn’t the same as chicken breading; it is a far different creature and makes all the difference in the world. The main ingredient to breading fish is cornmeal. In the U.S. you can find cornmeal in different grain sizes (small, medium or large and coarse vs. smooth) but here in Germany you can only find superfine cornmeal, which works GREAT for creamy polenta. It actually worked better than I would’ve thought for the breading too, which is awesome since I didn’t have much choice in the matter.
Next is the spice profile. I only add a little salt to the seasoning because I prefer to rub salt and pepper all over the inside and outside of the trout while I mix the breading. I prefer a crispy fish that isn’t so salty I can feel my blood pressure rising.
To get to this point I rely on smoky spices like cayenne pepper, smoky paprika (not sweet!) and cumin, mixed in with the cornmeal. My friend Alex recently gifted me with a Hungarian spice mix that I found quite spicy, and that’s saying a lot since I LOVE spicy foods. Anyway it was terribly spicy even to smell so I added a sprinkle to the cornmeal mixture along with about a teaspoon of lemon zest and I was ready to go.
Both my grandmas would probably pitch a fit if they knew it, but I don’t deep fry my fish, I simply pan-fry it with about a tablespoon and a half of cold pressed olive oil. It doesn’t come out all greasy and you don’t feel heavy when the food is gone. A win-win if I do say so myself!
It was an unusually humid day, even though the temperature was far from warm, so I just paired it with some fresh corn and a mini baguette.
I didn’t have a large enough skillet to fry the fish whole like I wanted, so I cut it in half and enjoyed it that way. It isn’t pretty as I’m sure you’ve already guessed, but it was smoky, spicy and delicious. And man the corn was fresh, sweet and made without GMOs so I don’t have to worry about growing a tail or a third eye.
Yeah….it was a good meal.
2 ears, corn
½ tbsp. cayenne pepper
1 rainbow trout, rinsed & scaled
1/3 cup cornmeal
Sea Salt & fresh ground black pepper to taste
1 tbsp. smoky paprika
½ tbsp. cumin
½ tbsp. Hungarian spice mix
1 tsp. lemon zest
1 mini baguette, lightly toasted
Butter (as desired)
1.5 tbsp. olive oil
- Place oil in large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Bring large pot of salted water to a boil. Add ears of corn and boil 5 to 10 minutes or until desired tenderness is reached.
- Rinse and scale trout, then pat dry. Cut trout in half.
- Combine cornmeal, paprika, cumin, cayenne pepper and lemon zest in a shallow dish.
- Rub salt and pepper all over the inside and outside of trout.
- Dredge trout through cornmeal seasoning until covered thoroughly.
- Add to oil and cook 2 to 4 minutes on each side, until golden brown.
- Toast mini baguette on 350° F for 6 to 8 minutes.
- Add butter—as desired—to baguette and corn and…ENJOY!
Just a little hint; if you let the oil get too hot then the breading will get too brown—as you can see—so don’t heat it up too early in the process. It took me longer to scale the fish than I thought it would, hence the dark brown breading.