Recipes from the J. Morey Staff: Trout with Browned Butter & Capers

Every time I have cooked trout in the past, I have prepared it the same way: Cajun dusted, sautéed in olive oil and butter, with a dash of lemon.  So this time I decided to try something new.  I found this recipe for Trout with Browned Butter & Capers on

8-10 ounces of cleaned, boned whole trout (tail and head removed)
1/4 C. butter
1 Tbsp. drained capers
1/4 C. all-purpose flour
1/4 C. yellow cornmeal
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
Lemon wedges and parsley sprigs (for garnish)

On a large dinner plate, mix flour, cornmeal, salt, and pepper.  Rinse trout and pat dry.  Place the trout in the flour mixture and turn to coat both sides.

In a 1-quart pan over medium heat, bring butter to a simmer, then remove from heat.  With a spoon, skim off and discard the foam, leaving the clarified butter behind.

Pour 1 Tbsp. clarified butter into a 10”-12” nonstick frying pan over high heat.  Place trout, skin side down, in pan and cook until browned on the bottom (about 2-3 minutes).  Turn with a wide spatula, reducing heat to medium, and cook (about 2-4 minutes) until fish is barely opaque but still moist-looking in center of thickest part (cut to test).

Meanwhile, add capers to remaining clarified butter in pan and shake pan often over medium heat until capers pop open, about 1-2 minutes.

Transfer trout, skin-side down, to a plate.  Spoon caper butter over fish and garnish with lemon wedges and parsley sprigs.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Summary & Suggestions:
This is an easy recipe that does not require a lot of skill in the kitchen.  The texture of the exposed side of the trout was delightful with a nice thin layer of crunch from the corn meal/flour mixture.  I tried the dish both with and without the lemon wedges and those few drops of fresh lemon juice made a big difference – it changed the flavor profile quite a bit (for the better).

Personally, I felt that the corn meal slightly overpowered the natural, mild flavors of the trout and I had to add extra salt and pepper to get my mind off thinking of “cornbread”.  I also may have gone a little overboard with spooning the butter over the top of the fish.  My point was to get every caper from the pan and have it spread evenly across the exposed layer of the fish, but my trout ended up a little heavier than I would have liked (soaked up the butter pretty well).

If I were to try this recipe again, I would probably add less corn meal and dress the fish more sparingly with the caper butter.  The negative points I have made are more of a personal preference than anything else, so I think that this recipe is at least worth a try.