I didn't know what kokanee trout was until a few weeks ago when our neighbor brought over a frozen sack of it. I thanked him profusely and learned about the fish from him including the fact that it's land-locked sockeye salmon. This neighbor is unbelievably kind to us -- over the years gifting us everything from freshly hunted elk and venison steaks and wild game sausage to all sorts of line-caught local fish -- mostly salmon and trout.
We've been really busy in recent weeks so I tucked the already frozen fish into the freezer -- with plans to make it soon. (A few weeks later and they're still in the freezer -- soon!) Yesterday afternoon this neighbor's son knocked on the door with another bag for us. This time filled with eight fresh, kokanee trout that they'd caught earlier in the day. They were beautiful looking fish and smelled delicious so I cooked them last night. We had company so I put five in the oven on the red cedar plank that my mom gave me.
My boyfriend trimmed and scaled the already gutted and headed trout and then I stuffed them with slightly sweet homemade garlic scape pesto (made with candied almonds) and thinly sliced lemon. Part-way through baking them for 25 minutes at 350 degrees I brushed the skin with some of the melted butter from the sauteed snap peas on the stove-top and then sprinkled some sea salt on them.
We served the fish with snap peas from the front yard sauteed in butter with fresh mint, slow cooked green beans with olive oil, tomatoes and lemon, some freshly baked kalamata loaf from DiPrima Dolci, and chilled homemade cherry wine. The fish was tender, juicy and delicious. It was similar to sockeye but more subtle in flavor and texture. I hate to use such a cliche but it truly melted in your mouth. The best meal I've had in months. Just perfect.