Dan's Wild Berry Trout Recipe

Dress up your fresh caught trout with this delicious wild berry compote.
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Dress up your fresh caught trout with this delicious wild berry compote.

At Home

Dice 1/2 of a medium sweet onion and seal in a zip-top baggie. Mix one cup of fine cornmeal with 1/2 tsp. of lemon pepper. If you like heat, add red pepper flakes to taste. Seal in a gallon-sized zip-top baggie. (Use a gallon-sized so the fish can be breaded in it in camp). Package one or two ounces of olive oil in a leak-proof plastic bottle. Package five or six mint leaves in a zippered baggie. NOTE: I typically place the onion baggie inside the mint baggie so the onions are double-bagged to protect against leakage.

On the trail

Pick approximately 2 cups of berries.

On the water

Catch two-four trout, depending on size. Gut and remove heads but leave tails. Rinse well.

In camp

Over medium heat, add one to two tablespoons of olive oil (or any cooking oil) to pan. Add onions. Stir occasionally until onions begin to turn translucent. Add berries. Heat until berries start to swell and burst. Add mint leaves (torn or chopped into dime-sized pieces). Reduce heat to simmer, continue to stir and partially crush berries (use a fork for best results), releasing most of the juice. Continue to simmer until juice reduces and thickens. There will be large chunks of berry, and even some complete berries remaining in the compote. When it reaches the consistency of a heavy syrup, remove from stove, cover and set near stove to keep warm.

Place frying pan on the medium-heat stove, add a tablespoon or so of oil, and let heat. One at a time, slip the cleaned still-damp fish into the cornmeal baggie and lightly dredge so both sides of the fish skin in lightly coated in seasoned cornmeal. (If cornmeal doesn't adhere, you may lightly brush some olive oil on the skin of the fish before dredging). Gently lay coated fish in the heated oil. Depending on size of the fish, cook two-three minutes per side. Flesh should flake easily away from skin when done. Skin should be VERY crispy but not burned -- the crispy skin will provide a crunchy treat during the meal and a great source of fat for hikers on extended treks.

Serve with the berry compote as a dipping/topping sauce. Tabasco can also be added to the sauce if a spicy bite is desired.