Trout Meunière — An Oregonian’s Ode to La Belle France and Julia Child

| April 22, 2010 | 4 Comments

I joke with friends that, as a Buddhist, I believe I lived in France in a past life. I’ve always been mesmerized by the idea of la belle France. In the late ’90s when Charles and I went to Paris together for the first time for a New Year’s Eve vacation, we were too excited to sleep on the transatlantic overnight flight. The stewardess from the first-class cabin came back to chat with us and, as we crossed the international dateline, asked if we wanted to toast the New Year with some champagne from the first-class cabin. It seems the passengers up front were asleep and there was nobody up to a little party. “Sure!” we said. And in a few minutes we were toasting the New Year with bubbly. 

That trip was magical for me. Not only were the sights incredible, but the food as well. We stayed at a little hotel in Place Saint-Sulpice, in a room with barely enough space between the walls and the bed, but we didn’t care. Who would spend their waking hours in their hotel room in Paris anyway?! 

It was on this trip that I ate roasted wild boar for the first time, as well as coque au vin, and rabbit stew in a tiny restaurant with four or five tables during a side trip to Versailles. I marveled how good the food was at the restaurants, with their seafood neatly arranged on ice trays on the sidewalks to tempt passersby. Armed with two weeks’ worth of French lessons via a Berlitz CD, I spoke as much French as I could muster everywhere we went and I believe because of my attempts that I was treated very well and found the Parisians warm and friendly. I remember when I ordered the wild boar at a little restaurant on the Île Saint-Louis, the waiter asked me in English to make sure I knew what I was ordering, and marveled that this Asian-American was so brave. I confirmed my order, and he asked us in French if we were enjoying our trip. I told him oui and was trying to relate to him our little adventure of finding ourselves imprisoned in Pére Lachaise Cemetery after a day of sightseeing, not realizing that its massive gates were locked after dark. He laughed and told us in English about the French youths who would scale the walls after dark to have parties in the cemetery.   

Charles claims the trout meunière was the best fish dish I've ever made. You can try this easy recipe and decide for yourself.

I thought about that trip last weekend when Charles and I were fishing at Mt. Hebo Lake and Charles was reeling in his first 12-inch rainbow trout. It wasn’t that the fishing adventure reminded me in any way of our trip. Instead, it made me think of the seafood in Paris and the passage in Julia Child’s book My Life in France, where she eats her first French meal in Rouen at Restaurant La Couronne and has sole meunière. She describes the buttery sole melting in her mouth, and I thought…trout meunière

So here’s a humble Oregonian’s tribute to our memories of la belle France and Julia Child, wherever she may be, with our version of wild-caught trout meunière. 

Trout Meunière 

  1. 1 medium-size rainbow trout per person
  2. The juice from half a lemon, and the remainder of the lemon sliced into circular discs and then cut in half for garnish
  3. 1-2 tablespoons (15-30 ml.) of chopped parsley
  4. 2 sticks of butter (1 cup or 240 ml.) 
  5. 2 cups (480 ml.) flour
  6. 1 teaspoon (5 ml.) of salt
  7. 1 teaspoon (5 ml.) of ground black pepper
  • Combine flour, salt and black pepper in a plate or square Pyrex dish to dredge the fish in.
  • Heat butter in large pan over medium-high heat until it starts to bubble.
  • Working with one fish at a time, dredge the fish in the flour mixture, then fry a few minutes on each side until golden. Keep fish warm in a serving piece held in a warm oven.
  • After you’re done frying all of the fish, turn the flame to low, deglaze the pan with the lemon juice, stir quickly and turn off the flame.
  • Take out your serving dish with the trout from the warm oven and arrange the lemon half-discs on each trout. Then, using a wire-mesh strainer, spoon the pan liquid into the strainer and over the trout.
  • Garnish with the chopped parsley and serve.


— Vic

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Category: Seafood

About the Author (Author Profile)

Victor Panichkul is a journalist and writer by training; a cook, wine lover and photographer by passion; and a lover of the outdoors since moving to Oregon more than 10 years ago. He is a native of Bangkok, Thailand.

Comments (4)

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  1. Charles says:

    I commented to Vic as we ate this meal that this was probably the finest fish I have ever eaten. So fresh and amazingly natural it was. I asked if we could deep-fry the bones and tail and chew on them as well as I trusted they would be spectacular as well. Yum, yum, yum! We’re going back to Hebo Lake ASAP.

  2. Marlene says:

    Both the food and the trip to Paris sound scrumptous. Marlene

  3. new orleans lady says:

    No offense, but rainbow trout is a vile fish that is not fit for human consumptionm. If you want to prepare Trout Meuniere properly, you use speckled trout. Also, lose the head and tail. A wonderful recipe is available at It is the grand dame of New Orleans haute cuisine.

  4. Charles says:

    To new orleans lady: I suppose we celebrate life and food differently. The rainbow trout we fished from Hebo Lake was anything but vile. (See my first comment.)

    According to my research, rainbow trout are native to the tributaries on both sides of the Pacific Ocean and are highly sought after for food and sport.

    We have dined at Galatoire’s on several occasions and enjoyed it immensely. I’m sorry but I could not find a recipe for Trout Meuniere at

    Regarding the head and tail, we prefer it that way for aesthetic reasons.

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