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Pan Fried Trout In Ontario

Ontario is at it's most beautiful in the Fall. The leaves change colour to shades of red, yellow and orange, the air turns cooler and fresh produce fills the markets, tempting me to get creative in my kitchen!

My favourite Fall activity is taking long, scenic drives around the country side, marvelling at the glorious colours, exploring farmer's markets along the way and stopping at scenic spots for an impromptu picnic of the goodies we have picked up.

Ontario is dotted with many beautiful provincial parks that provide the perfect opportunity to hike wooded trails, canoe on the lake or just sit by the waterfront and soak it all in. On a recent extended road trip, we explored northern Ontario with stops at Killarney park, St. Jacob's farmer's market and Lang Lake to name just a few. The peace and tranquility of the area, the stunning scenic beauty and the flavours of fresh, local food will remain golden in our memory. 

Locally caught fish such as trout and pickerel were featured on most restaurant menus during our recent trip. We loved their delicate flavour and the myriad of ways they were prepared in the form of soup, chowder, deep fried, grilled, steamed or bathed in a cheesy, creamy sauce. My favourite was a simple preparation of crisp pan fried trout, seasoned with herbs and lemon juice. Not only was it flavourful and healthy, it really let the taste of trout shine through.

In my recipe here, I have followed a similar cooking technique but punched up the flavours a bit by adding my own favourite spices - garam masala and cumin. It's surprising how well these spices blend with the delicate flavour of trout.

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Pan Fried Masala Trout

You can play around with the spice and herb profile of this recipe. Simply substitute the cumin and garam masala with herbs du provence or oregano and the coriander with fresh basil or Thyme. Serve with Fall tomato jam and a nice salad!

1/4 cup each: all purpose flour, fine breadcrumbs

Salt to taste

1/2 tsp each: ground black pepper, ground cumin, garam masala, paprika

1 lb trout fillet, or any other fish of your choice, cut into 4 pieces

2 tbsp each: oil, chopped fresh coriander leaves

1 lemon, cut into wedges

Line a tray with parchment to hold dredged fish. Have another platter ready to hold fried fish.

Combine flour, breadcrumbs, salt and spices in medium shallow flat bowl or plate. Dredge each fillet in spiced flour mixture and place on tray. Do not stack fish on top of each other. 

Warm oil in heavy skillet over medium heat. Fry fish in batches so as not to overcrowd pan. Place dredged fish skin side down in pan and cook for 3-4 min until skin is crisp and cooked through. Gently flip fish and cook for another couple minutes until it is golden and lightly crisp. 

Squeeze some fresh lemon juice over fish and garnish with fresh coriander. 

serves four

Credit for the lovely produce pictures in this blog goes to my friend Karen Bergmann. Thank you!