If the trout are to be kept only a day, or placed in a refrigerator, they need not be cleaned at once. But if they are kept longer, or in unusually hot weather, it is best to clean immediately. In both cases keep air away from direct contact with the trout and keep them moist but not wet.
Open medium-sized trout from the gills and along the belly to the ventral fins, or slightly beyond. The gills are gripped and pulled, freeing these and the intestines. Scrape away line of blood along the inside of the backbone with a knife. Wash thoroughly both inside and out. Once cleaned, especially if ice is not available, it is best to wrap the trout in absorbent paper, pressing the paper into the body cavity as well.
Among Author Elliot's favorite recipes baked trout ranks high, but in all cases, he believes, to retain the most flavor, the "fancy" methods should be avoided. Trout is never better than when fried in butter or broiled with pork scraps attached by means of toothpicks. Salt and pepper and a little lemon juice are the only requisites.
On baking he says: When baking a trout of three or four pounds, the fish may be stuffed if desired. It should be placed on buttered paper and have strips of salt pork laid over it or secured with toothpicks. If it is stuffed, it can be held together with toothpicks and string.
For the stuffing, pour half a cup of melted butter and a little hot water over two cups each of cracker crumbs and crumbled bread. Stir in an egg, salt, pepper and either half a teaspoon of poultry seasoning or a couple of tablespoons of lemon juice and a little parsley. Stuff to suit taste.
The trout will cook in an hour or less, in a slow to moderate oven. Served with an egg sauce, it's a worthwhile dish.
For the fancier palate baked Brook Trout Montbarry is suggested by Chef Aime Berard of the Rolling Rock Club, Ligonier, Pa. His recipe:
Clean six brook trout of uniform size, season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Line a well-buttered baking dish with one teaspoon each of finely chopped parsley, onion, chives and chervil; three heaping tablespoons finely chopped raw mushrooms; and a few leaves of fresh tarragon. Place the fish on this mixture and baste with two tablespoons of soft butter. Cover the dish with buttered paper, place in a 450� oven for 10 minutes.
Beat together four egg yolks and three tablespoons brandy. Remove the paper and pour this over the trout. Sprinkle with five tablespoons of buttered soft bread crumbs, the same amount of grated Swiss cheese; add a touch of paprika. Return to the oven to brown the crumbs. Serve in the baking dish. With it the chef serves six grilled large onions and six thick tomato slices, each topped with a grilled mushroom cap. This is probably the type of trout dish to be served at home rather than at camp but, wherever served, it is very good.