Mutti’s Pan Fried Troutlings

When I was a kid, this was the first dish my grandmother taught me to cook. We would make it with trout that I caught in the stream that runs by our house: hence troutlings, because regardless of how big my first fish loom in my memory, Mutti never lets me forget they were really cigarsize. Ideally this dish is prepared with a whole bunch of tiny spring troutlings (6-7 inches long), served family-style and eaten with your fingers. Otherwise, use the smallest trout you can find. If the fish are small enough, refry the bones and eat them as crispy little treats.


  • 4 whole brook troutlings (smallest available), gutted, gills removed
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 4 tablespoons capers, divided
  • Lemon halves
  • Fresh parsley, coarsely chopped


Season each troutling with salt and pepper on all sides and inside the cavities as well, then dust with the flour.

Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a cast iron pan over medium-high heat until it begins to brown, then add 1 trout and pan fry on all sides until golden brown, 5-7 minutes, depending on the size of the fish. Just before removing the fish from the pan, toss in 1 tablespoon capers and a healthy squeeze of lemon juice.

Transfer the fish to paper towels. Wipe out the pan and repeat until you’ve pan fried all the trout. I like to serve the fish family-style on a platter with a sprinkling of chopped parsley.

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