If you’re lucky enough to have a family member or friend who goes fishing for trout on Grand Lake Stream or any of the other small inland rivers in Maine, you’ve got a seasonal spring treat in store.

When it comes to cooking trout, as with just about all fresh fish, the most straightforward method is often the best, and this version, pan-fried, with a bit of cornmeal added to the seasoned flour for extra crunch, is the epitome of simplicity.

Add a bowl of warm German-style potato salad and some sautéed broccolini or kale, and you’ve got a spring meal at its finest.


Purists prefer to leave the heads on for cooking, but the choice, clearly, is up to you.

Serves 4

4 pan-size trout, about 1 pound each

½ cup whole milk

½ cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons cornmeal

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

3 tablespoons vegetable oil, or more

3 tablespoons butter, or more

Lemon wedges

Rinse the trout inside and out, and trim off its fins with kitchen shears. Place the milk in 1 shallow dish. In another shallow dish, combine the flour, cornmeal, salt, and pepper.

In 1 very large or 2 medium-sized skillets, heat the oil and butter. You should have about 1/4 inch of fat in each pan; add more oil or butter if necessary.

Dip the trout in milk and dredge in the flour mixture, shaking off the excess. Place in pan(s) and cook over medium to medium-high heat until well-browned and crisp on the first side, 3 to 4 minutes.

If the fish curls up, which very fresh trout tend to do, press with a spatula so that it cooks evenly.

Turn carefully and cook on the second side until browned and crisp outside and the flesh has lost its translucency at the thickest part, 3 to 5 minutes.

Serve with lemon wedges.


Peeled potatoes are traditional for this scrumptious salad, but I like to retain the skins for their look, texture, and nutritional value. If you can’t find Red Bliss or other red-skinned potatoes, use California white potatoes or Yukon Gold.

Serves 6

2 pounds red-skinned potatoes or other waxy boiling potatoes

1 cup chopped sweet onion, such as Vidalia

½ pound bacon

1 cup white wine vinegar

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

¾ cup coarsely chopped parsley

Freshly ground black pepper

Salt, if necessary

Cut the potatoes into 2-inch chunks and cook in a large pot of boiling salted water until just tender when pierced with a small knife, about 15 minutes. Drain, and when they are cool enough to handle, slice about ½ inch thick. Toss with chopped onion.

Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a large skillet over low heat, turning now and then, until the bacon is crisp, about 15 minutes. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate. Pour drippings into a measuring cup. You should have about 6 tablespoons; pour off extra fat or add vegetable oil to make up the difference. Return the fat to the skillet, add the vinegar, sugar, and mustard, and whisk over medium heat until smooth and bubbly, about 2 minutes. Pour the hot dressing over the warm potatoes and onion and mix gently to combine.

Coarsely chop the bacon and add about three-quarters of the amount to the potatoes, along with the parsley. Season with plenty of black pepper and taste carefully for salt. It may not need any, because of the salty bacon. Scatter the remaining bacon over the top. Serve the potato salad warm or at room temperature. (Can be made a couple of hours ahead and reheated in a microwave.)

Brooke Dojny is author or co-author of more than a dozen cookbooks, most recently “Chowderland: Hearty Soups & Stews with Sides and Salads to Match.” She lives on the Blue Hill peninsula, and can be contacted via Facebook at:


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