A few weekends ago, The Chef had a rare three days off so we packed up the car and hit the road. Our destination? Rockbridge Rainbow Trout and Game Ranch in Rockbridge, Missouri, for a little bit of fishin’. And before you ask, yes, I fished … and I baited my own hook and took my own fish off the line!
Rockbridge Rainbow Trout and Game Ranch is a 3000-plus acre resort nestled in the picturesque Ozark Mountains. Sparkling, crystal clear waters, monumental bluffs, and lush scenery all converge to make one of the most spectacular settings Missouri has to offer. Running through the resort is Spring Creek, replete with beautiful rapids, slow moving currents, sunny shallows, and shaded deep pools. The spring-fed streams are stocked with mature rainbow trout from the ranch’s hatchery and are perfect for both fly-fishing and light tackle fishing.
The Chef and I both grew up fishing with our dads, but we’d never gone together before. The Chef is a fly fisherman, and it was a joy to watch him doing something he loves so much. Since I’ve never fly-fished before, I stuck to the shore and fished with a new rod and reel The Chef bought for me. I can’t tell you who originally said, “A bad day of fishing is better than a good day of work,” but I can tell you he or she is right. The Chef and I both work a lot so it was a true treat to unplug for a few days and spend time getting back to nature.
Yep, that’s The Chef and The Chef’s 2-pound rainbow trout, the biggest fish we caught all weekend. Unfortunatley for us, the trout were spawning and were more interested in each other than anything we had to offer them … so as the saying goes, “The fishing was good; it was the catching that was bad.” But, even though we didn’t catch “the big one,” we still had a wonderful time.
Rockbridge Rainbow Trout and Game Ranch is a catch-and-keep resort (but catch-and-release permits are available for an extra cost), and they clean, fillet, and freeze any fish you catch until you’re ready to go home. On the day we left, we received our trout, perfectly packaged for the ride home.
Both The Chef and I are looking forward to our next trip to Rockbridge Rainbow Trout and Game Ranch … and if you’re looking for a quick get-away, or even a great place for a family vacation, we highly recommend it.
So, just what did we do with the trout we brought home?
There are so many ways to prepare trout, but baking is a great way to bring out the flavors of this fish. One of my favorite ways to bake fish is “en papillote,” which is just a fancy way of saying “in parchment,” which refers to parchment paper used to enclose the fish like an envelope. Baking en papillote is one of the easiest (and usually healthiest) ways of cooking fish, and once you have the technique down, you can use it with any combination of fish and accoutrements you like.
Have you ever prepared fish en papillote? If so, leave me a comment and let me know what you made. If not, I encourage you to give my recipe for trout en papillote a try!
Trout En Papillote
- 1 lemon, cut into 12 thin slices
- 1 small onion, thinly sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 4 rainbow_trout fillets (about 6 ounces each)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 stick butter, sliced into 8 slices
- 4 bay leaves, dried
1. Preheat oven to 400°.
2. Cut a 16 x 14 inch piece of parchment paper for each trout filet. Fold each sheet of parchment paper in half lengthwise, then cut out a heart-shaped piece from each sheet. Open the parchment “hearts” and lay flat.
3. Lay three lemon slices to one side of each piece of parchment paper, then evenly top each with onion and garlic slices.
4. Lay one trout fillet, skin side down, over each of the lemon/onion/garlic stacks.
5. Sprinkle trout fillets evenly with salt and pepper.
6. Top each trout fillet with 2 butter slices and one bay leaf.
7. Fold the empty side of the parchment paper over the trout. Starting at the top of the heart (ie, not the pointed end), make a series of tiny folds all the way around, then tuck the last fold under the pouch to seal completely.
8. Place the parchment packets on a cookie sheet or baking pan, and bake for 15 minutes (note: paper will brown slightly).
9. Remove parchment packets from oven and place on plates. Carefully cut opening into top of parchment, allowing steam to escape.
10. Remove bay leaves, serve, and enjoy.
Notes: Parchment paper is readily available at most major grocery stores, but if you can’t find it, aluminum foil may be used instead.