BY KABELO MASOABI
Rainbow trout is colourful and popular freshwater game-fish in the salmon family. It is quite tasty and has a wonderful yet mild flavor – it doesn’t need much enhancing at all, which makes it an extremely easy fish to cook.

According to Chef Lebakeng Thamae, Rainbow trout is a cold-water fish which usually associated with healthy, clear mountain stream habitats and suitable in Lesotho.
Thamae who is a graduate of the famous Hurst Culinary School in South Africa says to bring out the best flavor out of trout, he uses quite basic ingredients including olive oil, salt and pepper, minced garlic, and fresh lemon slices.
“That’s all you really need to make the best rainbow trout!” he notes with confidence.

For this recipe – lemon pepper garlic rainbow trout and asparagus baked on a sheet pan in the oven – Chef Thamae says he uses a single large rainbow trout fillet which makes two generous servings.
The fish he says is baked on a sheet pan together with some asparagus. This recipe he says makes a complete meal in that; you get the dinner (trout) and the side dish (asparagus) done at the same time.
What makes this dish excellent for health as he points out, is the fact that trout is low in carbohydrates and contains a good amount of protein.

“There are also health benefits of eating trout as it is packed with omega 3 fatty acids. Asparagus has low carb content and makes an excellent side dish for trout.”
Another important aspect he adds is spices used for cooking the rainbow trout.
“There are lots of ways that you can enhance the flavor of trout with simple ingredients. Use basic ingredients, such as salt and pepper, minced garlic, and lemon slices. Dried and fresh herbs go great with rainbow trout. Use thyme, oregano, rosemary, parsley, or dill.
“Use dry rubs for fish. You can buy excellent dry rubs made specifically for fish in various stores, or you can make your own. It’s easy to make your own dry rub for fish: combine small amounts of dried chili powder, ground ginger, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, salt and pepper, and dried herbs, such as oregano, parsley, cilantro, etc.,” Chef Thamae explains.

The advantage of rainbow trout fillets, as the chef goes into the finer details of cooking, is that it is usually quite large in size, which makes it well-suited for baking on a sheet pan in the oven.
He lists the following steps to making baked rainbow trout:
– First, preheat the oven to 191ºC.
– Second, cut a sheet of foil that is large enough to wrap the trout fillet quite well.
– Then, cover the baking sheet with some aluminum foil, and place the trout fillet in the centre. Fold up all four sides of the foil and making sure to not cover the fillet entirely at the moment.

– Place the trout fillet skin side down and asparagus on a parchment paper lined sheet pan: Spread olive oil over the trout and the asparagus.  Sprinkle the fish and the vegetables with salt and black pepper. Add minced fresh garlic on top. Add thinly sliced lemon. Bake in the preheated oven at 191ºC for about 15 minutes. Remove lemon slices before serving, if you like.
What to serve with rainbow trout:
“Serve mashed potatoes or oven-baked potatoes roasted with herbs and garlic in olive oil. You can also serve with fresh green salad and rice.  Rice is an excellent side dish choice for trout fish.  For more flavour, serve wild rice or flavoured rice,” advises Chef Thamae.
From October to April every year, it is trout fishing season in the Maluti Mountains of the country, according to Lesotho Tourism Information Centre.

Some of the reliable trout suppliers in the districts are listed as Iceland (Ha Thetsane Maseru), Sanlei Trout (Mass production at Katse Dam, RLM’s (Mafeteng town) and Lecholi (Leribe, Hlotse).