Sous Vide: Trout, Whole

Traditional "truite" au bleu utilizes live trout, not usually available in the local market. This recipe evokes the original concept.


Level of difficulty: 2.0

Fresh trout, each, 12-20 oz/325-600 g.

Butter sauce, 1.5 oz/45 g.
Parsley, chopped, as needed, approximately 1 Tablespoon.


Equipment requirements

Immersion circulator, portable or stationary.
Heat rated container, long enough to accommodate a whole trout.
Heat rated sous vide bags.
Channel or chamber vacuum device.
Tablespoon for boning the fish–no professional server leaves home without one!

Above: Lipavi C15 container, N15 polycarbonate racks. Lipavi C15L-UNIR lid.


Preheat the sous vide bath to

183 F/84 C.

Make the butter sauce as explained HERE. Use a funnel to pour the sauce into a plastic squirt bottle or goose neck. Set aside and keep warm. Stage the individual trout into a dedicated vacuum bag. Heat a large plate in the oven to approximately 170 F/80 C.

Load the package snugly into the rack to prevent floating. Add the racked fish to the tank and turn off the heat. Set the timer for 10-15 minutes.

After the time has elapsed, remove the package from the bath onto a large plate.

Cut off one end of the bag and ease the fish onto the plate. There will be a small amount of flavorful juices.

Use the spoon (or your tool of choice) to remove the head, the tail, and the dorsal and belly fins. Some people prefer to leave the skin intact. My general principle is to eat the skin when it is crisp and discard it when it is not. My wife will not eat the skin regardless.

Remove the skin. It can be lightly scraped off the fish with the spoon, or you can just pinch it at the upper right corner and pull. It will usually come right off. Expert table service waiters can remove the skin in one piece, but It never seems to work for me if someone is watching! It is worth giving a try though.

Take your time. Relax. It won’t get cold. This is why you use a hot plate.

Carefully turn the fish over and 180 degrees. The fish is easier to trim if the belly faces you.

Repeat the process of removing fins…

and the skin.

Run the spoon down the visible seam and separate the filets as shown. Pinch the spine at either end and lift up gently to remove. You may want to slide the spoon under the bone to help it along.

If bones remain, they will be the fine rib-cage pin-bones nearest the head. They can be troublesome–one should never expect a fish to be completely boneless, even in the finest of restaurants. But not to worry.

A little butter sauce and some chopped parsley covers a multitude of sins. Season with salt and pepper (or your favorite seasoning blend).

The simple addition of boiled potatoes is a nice touch.


Norm King




Sous vide processing converts collagen to gelatin by design. Fin fish contain almost NO collagen and require no tenderization. Preparation methods for fish usually endeavor to PREVENT the flesh from becoming overly tender--crisp crusts, acidic treatments, dry curing/smoking, etc. Introducing freshly dispatched trout into boiling water also promotes a firm end product. Of course, most of us don't have access to live trout.
So, using sous vide for fish is usually counterintuitive. To account for that, we will take a seemingly antithetical approach for this recipe.


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