If you have ever been to Western Ukraine you might have noticed just how popular trout is. Due to the proximity of the Carpathian mountains, this river fish is available at most restaurants in different styles. Of course, as I am keeping things traditional, here’s a recipe for Carpathian baked trout under sour cream and mushrooms.
Trout is one of those super versatile fish that can be prepared a variety of ways. Skin on or off, whole or filleted, grilled, fried, or made into tacos, there is no shortage of preparations for this tasty fish.
I didn’t think dairy and fish went together until I moved to Ukraine, but now it is one of my favorite combinations. Sour cream, or even better smetana, provides a great tang to the fish which ends up being perfectly baked under the mixture. The best thing is, unlike most freshwater fish, trout has a very easy to open skeletal system so avoiding the pin bones isn’t an issue.
Carpathian Baked Trout With Sour Cream
If you aren’t in the Carpathians to fish for trout, you can usually buy some at the store. There are quite a few different trout varieties, and they’ll all work for this recipe. To start, prepare your cleaned fish and lay them on a large baking dish.
I like to cook these fish whole with the heads attached. This is optional if you don’t like your dinner looking back at you. Once the cleaned fish are sitting on a baking tray you can begin to make the sauce. Cooking the fish whole is the popular Ukrainian way of making this dish, as the body keeps the meat moist.
Note that if you know you are going to have leftovers you can still cook all the fish. I suggest turning whatever is left over into a tasty trout salad so you don’t have to throw anything away.
I use oyster mushrooms in this recipe, but you can really use any mushroom you prefer. White Boletes are also traditional Carpathian, however I used my entire stock to make a delicious Carpathian Mushroom Soup.
Because I usually head to the Carpathians in fall and winter I’ve also put this on my list of great mushroom recipes to make in Autumn!
You can get creative with the sour cream and mushroom topping, as long as those two ingredients are there. For 4 fish I use two cups of sour cream and 250 grams of oyster mushrooms. I don’t chop the mushrooms finely, they will shrink in size in the oven.
I also mix in a chopped yellow onion, a tablespoon of chopped dill, a teaspoon of salt, paprika, and garlic powder, along with some freshly cracked black pepper to taste.
Take the sauce and spoon it into the trout’s body cavity. You don’t need to overpack it, but don’t skimp. This will keep the inside perfectly moist as it bakes in the oven.
After filling the inside, generously spoon over the sour cream and mushroom sauce on the skin of the fish. This will protect the skin as it bakes, but it also forms a very tasty “crust” for the trout. If you find yourself being extra generous with the sauce, just make some more!
As I was making this Carpathian baked trout for four people, I decided to use a larger baking dish. These trout bake in the oven at 200 Celsius for 23 minutes. I should mention that each trout weighs around 500 grams (before cleaning), so if you have smaller ones, try baking for 18-20 minutes.
Baked trout tends to release lots of juice as they cook. This is why the sour cream blanket is so important. Plus, it’s a delicious way to keep healthy. Sour cream, while very fatty, doesn’t have added sugar so it’s a great way to make a non-cheat meal feel like a cheat meal. Plus if you serve this Carpathian baked trout with some traditional pampushky, you can sop up the delicious sauce even better!
Carpathian Baked Trout Under Sour Cream And Mushrooms
- Baking Dish
- 4 Trouts cleaned and gutted
- 2 cups Sour Cream or Smetana if you can find it
- 1 Yellow Onion chopped
- 250 grams Oyster Mushrooms rough chop
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Paprika
- 1 tsp Garlic Powder
- Black Pepper freshly cracked, to taste
- 1 tbsp Dill fresh, chopped
- In a bowl mix together all the ingredients except the trout.
- Lay the trout on a baking tray. Fill the cavity with a tbsp or so of the sour cream and mushroom filling. Then spread more filling over the body of the fish facing upwards.
- Place in an oven preheated to 200 Celsius and bake for 23 minutes (for 500 gram whole trout) or for 18 minutes (for a small 300 gram trout).
- Remove from the oven and serve. Enjoy.