Say YES! to Lake Trout

Monahan's Seafood Market | Fresh Whole Fish, Fillets, Shellfish, Recipes, Catering & Lunch Counter-Ann Arbor, Michigan

lake troutAnother great Michigan fish is Lake Trout. These long-living (at least 40 years) fish are the largest member of the Char family and a good gamefish that can grow to huge sizes (record: 120 lb in 1818 from the Great Lakes) and they like cold water—around 50° or less is their comfort zone.

Lake Trout have a high fat content and to me, that’s a good trait. For years I have heard negative comments from sports fishermen and charter captains about what they call “dark, greasy, strong-tasting, undesirable” fish like Lake Trout, Bluefish, Mackerel and Kingfish. But if it’s cooked properly, all these fish have lots of character and great flavor. It’s funny that fish like Chilean Bass, Sablefish and Arctic Char are high-priced fish that are prized for their rich and buttery texture but an inexpensive Lake Trout (from the Char family) can be called “greasy” by some people. Lake Trout is one of the tastiest (and least expensive) fish in our case. We buy fish that run about 2–4 lbs from Lake Superior and Huron. These smaller trout are leaner than the giants, but still have plenty of fat and flavor.

Because of the richness of this fish, I think the best methods of preparation are grilling or broiling, but we’ve tried sautéeing (almondine), baking and poaching (served with a yogurt cucumber sauce). Our web-master, Wendy, roasted a whole Lake Trout in kosher salt recently (see a video featuring this recipe with a Bluefish here) and she said it was even better than the Lake Superior Whitefish that she prepared in the same style. She just peeled back the skin and the fillets came right off the bone.

For those of you who have concerns regarding toxins that store in the fat of these types of fish, I’d say that an occasional meal of these smaller Lake Trout shouldn’t be a worry. The healthful benefits will still outweigh the minute risk factors and unless you are pregnant or nursing and want to be SUPER safe, enjoy this rich, delicious and sustainable Michigan fish.

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