Brook trout should be eaten the same day they are taken. Trout and other oily fish lose their quality in storage. Many fancy recipes exist for preparing trout, but the traditional, albeit simple Maine trout fry cannot be topped.
Use only trout that fit conveniently in the pan. Larger specimens are often strong. For the best flavor, stick to small or medium fish. As soon as you catch the trout, kill it and remove the guts and gills, leaving the head in place. Keep the trout moist and cold. If that means dunking it in the pond or stream every few minutes, then so be it. A handful of damp ferns in a wicker creel is the time-honored way Mainers keep trout fresh during the transition from stream to plate. Never put your trout in a plastic bag because the heat build-up can turn the fish rancid.
Now that you have taken exquisite care of your trout, rinse the fish in fresh, cold water and remove the blood line that lies at the top of the rib cage, along the backbone. Roll the trout in flour and fry in clarified butter (margarine will do) until the flour is golden brown. Remove from the pan and drain on a paper towel.
You will notice that the fish curl as they are being cooked. This is the mark of fresh fish. It in no way affects the delicate flavor of the finished product. Serve the trout with fresh greens. Most Mainers also like a pot of black tea with this meal.
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