So many of the meals we eat in daily life appear in front of us, seemingly out of nowhere. We don’t know the backstory of the ingredients and we didn’t have to make any special effort to source them.
It can be refreshing to buck the trend and get back to the basics, putting together a meal from as close to scratch as you can.
That can mean donning the waders and striding out into the stream with an artillery of flies on your belt. After all, the weather’s getting better.
Following a good day’s fishing, with your catch sizzling over the campfire, you’re bound to feel a sense of satisfaction you’d miss out on with store-bought goods. You can be confident that the trout came from the stream and that the lemon came from your neighbour’s tree.
There’s no better time than spring and early summer to be catching trout. Around the country, many seasonal trout closures have come to an end.
4 whole trout
4 rashers of bacon
1 large lemon
Salt and pepper
Have the fire burning low from the start, so that by the time it comes around to cooking you are cooking over a bed of coals or at least a very low flame. Place your grill over the fire, ready to go.
The trout need to be scaled and gutted. Some smaller trout will have very fine scales, so fine that scaling might be unnecessary – although it is always best to do so anyway. Remove the gills with your knife, then proceed to remove the fins and the ribs, preserving as much good flesh as you can in the process.
Lay the trout out on two layers of foil. You can lay all the trout out on the same piece of foil if you have a fish basket; if you don’t, wrapping them separately works fine. Now it’s time to prepare the other ingredients.
The type of bacon you use and the way you cook it depend on your personal preferences. Some may be happy with bacon fat, and therefore opt for rashers, which are the perfect shape for wrapping the length of the fish. Alternatively, if you prefer leaner meat, you can cut shortcut bacon into strips. If you prefer crispier bacon, give it a light fry. If you prefer it on the undercooked side, it will be fine to cook over the fire with the trout.
Cut the lemon in half. Use one half to squeeze the juice over the inside and outside of the trout. Cut the other side up into slices and stuff them inside, under and on top of the fish. Then sprinkle the herbs plus salt and pepper evenly and generously to bring the flavours of the trout to life.
Wrap the trout closed with the bacon and seal the deal by enclosing them in the foil, avoiding any exposed areas.
Then it’s time to place the trout over the fire. Sit back and relax, leaving the trout for 20 to 25 minutes and flipping halfway through. Avoid any flames licking the foil. To test before eating, check whether the fish flakes with a fork. Then you’re good to go!