Trout Caviar | Brett Laidlaw


Foraging for your own meal is serious business.

Trout Caviar: Recipes from a Northern Forager

TITLE: Trout Caviar
AUTHOR: Brett Laidlaw
PUBLISHER: Minnesota Historical Society Press
CUISINE: American

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Featured Ingredient: Brown Trout
The brown trout (Salmo trutta) is an originally European species of salmonid fish. ItBrown Trout includes both purely freshwater populations, referred to Salmo trutta morpha fario and S. trutta morpha lacustris, and anadromous forms known as the sea trout, S. trutta morpha trutta. The latter migrates to the oceans for much of its life and returns to freshwater only to spawn.[2] Sea trout in the UK and Ireland have many regional names, including sewin (Wales), finnock (Scotland), peal (West Country), mort (North West England) and white trout (Ireland).

The specific epithet trutta derives from the Latin trutta, meaning, literally, “trout”. [Wikipedia]

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First Impressions
Trout Caviar is as much a personal food journal as it is a cookbook. It reminds me a little of Girl Hunter by Georgia Pellegrini. But, with digging rather than shooting. It’s a tale of gathering and foraging. I must admit I wasn’t very familiar with the topic until I read through it. It’s a fantastic primer on the subject. I particularly love the way the stories are so intertwined with the dishes. They provide excellent context for the recipes. You’re not going to be wowed by the images. They are mostly black and white. There is a section of color photographs towards the middle of the book. The meat of this cookbook are the hearty and homey recipes. They are worth the price of admission.

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What You’ll Find Inside (aka Table of Contents)
Vegetable Mains
Pasta and Pizza
Vegetable Side
Desserts and Drinks

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Steve Oxley, master fly fisherman. Enough said.

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The Best of the Book (Our Favorite Recipes)

Watercress Bacon Salad Sorrel Shallot Potato Soup
Summer Lake Trout Chowder Wild Mushroom Lasagna
Bacon Onion Tart Steak Tartare Maison
Confit of Fresh Ham Home Smoked Trout
Duck Confit Tacos Knife and Fork BOT (Bacon, Onion & Tomato)


I love to make my own gravlax or lox. The Lake Trout Maple-Spiced Gravlax (p.28) sounds really interesting. I have never attempted to cure anything but salmon. That always turns out amazing. So, that makes this a must try. The Popcorn Salad (p.43) sounds so unusual that it is hard to resist. Also, the Walleye Tacos (p.165) are sure to be a winner. I love fish tacos of all stripes. The ones that I have eaten have been made mainly with grouper, red snapper or some other with fleshed saltwater fish. Walleye would be a great substitution.

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Special FeaturesTrout Caviar: Recipes from a Northern Forager
There are some great smoking tips here. Lots of notes on the do’s and don’ts of foraging for your own ingredients. Probably more don’ts. I’ve always thought you should probably take someone with a little experience with you on your first mushroom hunt. It seems to me the downside could be huge. There is a list of some helpful websites and books towards the back. Foraging doesn’t seem like a subject that tons of people will be well versed in. The resources are a nice addition.

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This isn’t the type of cookbook that you’re going to turn to for your everyday meals. Unless, you’re a forager that is. But, it has a nice selection of unique recipes that would be great for a change of pace. I’m sure that Brett would be OK with you making these dishes even if you didn’t dig up your own fungi. Most of the recipes are reasonably easy to execute. The ingredients are a slightly tougher task. If you don’t have easy access to ramps or fiddleheads, you may want to find a reliable source before cracking the spine of this one. All in all, an enjoyable and delicious romp with nature.

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Culinary Expertise 6
1= Boiling Water (novice) 10= Liquid Nitrogen (expert)

Trout Caviar: Recipes from a Northern Forager

Resources, Links and Press
The Trout Caviar Website
Trout Caviar Review via Heavy Table
Follow Brett Laidlaw on Twitter
Minnesota Historical Society

One thought on “Trout Caviar | Brett Laidlaw

  1. Brett Laidlaw

    Hello Foodamental: I just now found this, and wanted to says thanks for featuring my book on your site. I think you really got it, as far as I’m concerned, about what I was trying to do in this book. And I hope it has led you to some memorable meals and foraging adventures.

    Also, I agree with you re the B&W photos. I would have used fewer, and made sure they really enhanced the book. The author is only in control of so much.

    Thanks again. I look forward to checking in here regularly.



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