Learn how to cook baked whole rainbow trout in just 20 minutes and serve it with a delicious Mediterranean lemon and olive oil sauce (ladolemono).
Once you make it, it will become one of your favorite quick weeknight dinners.
This easy, Mediterranean-inspired baked whole rainbow trout recipe is a protein rich dish, packed with healthy omega-3 fatty acids from the fish and good-for-your-heart monounsaturated fatty acids from the olive oil.
To make it even more healthier, I like to serve it with boiled dandelion greens because this is a common pairing in Mediterranean cuisine.
Other healthy side dish options are these air-fryer Brussels sprouts, grilled asparagus, steamed broccoli, green beans or a pearl couscous salad.
You will only need a few simple ingredients to make this recipe, so quality is very important for the best taste. These ingredients are:
- Rainbow trout (other types of trout will also work)
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Fresh lemon juice
- Dried oregano
- Freshly ground black pepper
Rinse the trout under running water, drain and pat dry very well. Season it in and out with salt and pepper.
You don't have to scale the trout because the skin will peel off very easily after it's cooked.
You can use your oven to cook the trout in two ways.
1 st way: Bake.
Rub the fish with olive oil and sprinkle in and out with some salt. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake in the oven until the flesh is opaque and flakes easily with a fork (about 17-20 minutes, depending on the size of the fish).
2nd way: Broil.
Broiling the trout will give it more of a grilled flavor. Place the baking sheet on the top part of the oven, approximately 4-5 inches (10-12 cm) distance from the broiler. Broil for 9-10 minutes from one side, then using two spatulas, flip and cook for another 9-10 minutes the other side.
Make the lemon sauce (ladolemono):
Transfer all of the ingredients for the lemon olive oil sauce to a jar, close it firmly with the lid and shake well to combine.
Baking or broiling the trout with the skin protects it from drying out (think of it like wrapping the fish in aluminum foil).
Cooking time will depend on the size of the fish, but 1-2 minutes more or less won’t have any dramatic impact on the final result.
The trout is cooked through when the fish flakes easily with a fork and the meat is opaque, or when a kitchen thermometer inserted at the thickest part of the flesh registers an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit (63 degrees Celsius)
The lemon olive oil sauce has a rich, creamy taste which pairs perfectly with the mild flavor of the trout and also makes any other seasoning unnecessary. However, you can put some lemon slices and a few sprigs of fresh parsley in the belly of each trout before baking.
How to gut trout
I always ask for the fishmonger to gut the trout. If you have a trout that is not gutted, then follow this easy step-by-step guide to prepare it:
Rinse the trout under cold water to clean the exterior.
Lay the trout on a cutting board and make a shallow incision along the belly, from the anus towards the head, using a sharp knife. Be careful not to puncture any organs.
Use your fingers to carefully remove the organs (you can wear gloves for this) and any other internal parts. Pull them out gently, ensuring you remove everything.
Rinse the cavity of the trout under cold water to remove any remaining blood or tissue and pat it dry with paper towels.
Instead of dried oregano you can also use dried thyme. Other options are fresh dill or other fresh herbs like parsley, fennel fronds and chervil .
You can replace the trout with other freshwater fish, but baking times may change.
Add some dried garlic powder or minced fresh garlic to the lemon sauce (ladolemono) for an interesting twist. Lemon zest or ground coriander seeds will also pair very well.
Transfer any left overs in an airtight container (including the lemon-olive oil sauce) and store in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Side dishes - Pairing
Boiled greens like dandelion greens or white mustard greens are a classic Mediterranean combination for this baked rainbow trout recipe. Rice (such as brown rice or wild rice) and potatoes (such as this Mediterranean potato salad) are also great with trout.
Easy baked whole rainbow trout (20-minute recipe)
For the trout:
- 4 rainbow trout gutted and cleaned (about 14 oz/400 grams each)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
For the lemon-olive oil sauce:
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- Freshly grated black pepper
- a pinch of salt
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Preparation: Rinse the trout under running water, drain and pat dry very well.Rub the fish with olive oil and sprinkle in and out with some salt.(you don't have to scale the trout because the skin will peel off very easily after it's cooked).
- Bake: Transfer to the baking sheet and bake in the oven until the flesh is opaque and flakes easily with a fork (about 17-20 minutes, depending on the size of the fish).Alternatively you can use the broiler which will give the trout a grilled flavor:Place the baking sheet on the top part of the oven (approximately 4 inches - 10 cm distance from the broiler) and broil for 9-10 minutes the one side. Then, using two spatulas, flip and cook for another 9-10 minutes the other side.
- Make the lemon-olive oil sauce: Transfer all of the ingredients for the sauce to a jar, close it firmly with the lid and shake well to combine.
- Trout doesn't have a strong fishy taste. If you want to further reduce the fishiness, rub the trout inside out with fresh lemon juice and rinse it with fresh water. You can do that with all fish.
- Cooking time for the trout will depend on the exact temperature of your broiler and the distance of the pan. Test for doneness with a fork when the skin is browned and charred.
- The fish can be served whole on plates. The skin will be easily peeled off with a fork. Open the trout in the middle (butterfly) and remove all the bones. Drizzle with the dressing and add extra salt if needed.
While it is related to salmon, trout is a white flesh fish with a much milder, nutty, slightly sweet flavor and tender, flaky texture. If you like cod or sole fish you will probably also like trout.
Because it doesn't have a strong fishy flavor, it's a perfect fish for people who are not used to eating fish.
No, you don't have to scale trout prior to cooking them. You can cook them with the scales on, or you can remove the scales, or you can remove the skin entirely to make a filet.
Rainbow Trout is a sustainable, low mercury fish labeled a “best choice” according to the article advice about eating fish by the FDA.
In other words, trout is one of the healthiest fishes you can include in your diet.