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The Fish We Cook: Rainbow Trout, Brook Trout

TROUT, BROOK

A small member of a large family of fish, the brook trout can be found under such names as brookie, salter, squaretail, and golden speckled or native trout. A member of the salmon family, the brook trout averages only 8 ounces and 8 to 10 inches in length but has been known to grow to 14½ pounds and 31 inches. It can be found in cold streams and ponds throughout eastern United States. The brook trout is greenish to brown in color with a specked sides and reddish fins and belly. It is the state fish of Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia The brook trout has a firm flaky flesh with a very mild flavor and a moderate fat content and remains moist after cooking. The best way to cook brook trout is to bake, sauté, broil, steam, pan fry or poach.

TROUT, RAINBOW Fishing baits

The rainbow trout is the most abundant member of the freshwater trout family and is found in cool clear waters throughout the western United States. It is native only to states west of the Rocky Mountains and is very important for both sport and commercial fishing. Commercially it is generally a farmed raised fish. It is a close relative of the other small trout such as the dolly varden and the cutthroat trout and is actually a member of the salmon family. It can be found under such names as bow, coaster, red sides, summer salmon and salmon trout. It is a torpedo shaped fish that has a blueish-green or yellow-green color with distinguishing broad horizontal reddish band. The rainbow trout averages only 8 ounces but can grow to 37 pounds and 40 inches in length. The rainbow trout occasionally leaves its freshwater habitat and lives in the ocean. There it takes on a grayish color and salmon colored meat. After two to three years the rainbow returns to freshwater to spawn. When it returns to freshwater it is known as steelhead or salmon trout because of its color change. The steelhead and the rainbow trout are the same species. The meat of the rainbow trout will have more flavor the larger it gets. The steelhead, one that has lived in the ocean, will have more flavor than the rainbow. The rainbow trout has a firm flaky flesh that is very mild in flavor and has a moderate fat content. The best way to cook is to oven fry, bake, broil, pan fry or steam.

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