Trouts and Chars

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

  • About
These mainly freshwater offshoots of the salmons are excellent sport fish and so have been transplanted from their home waters to lakes and streams all over the world. Their flesh lacks the salmon coloration because their diet doesn’t include the pigmented ocean crustaceans. Today, the trout found in U.S. markets and restaurants are almost all farmed rainbows. On a diet of fish and animal meal and vitamins, rainbow trout take just a year from egg to mild, single-portion (0.5–1 lb/225–450 gm) fish. The Norwegians and Japanese raise exactly the same species in saltwater to produce a farmed version of the steelhead trout, which can reach 50 lb/23 kg, and has the pink-red flesh and flavor of a small Atlantic salmon. Arctic char, which can grow to 30 lb/14 kg as migratory fish, are farmed in Iceland, Canada, and elsewhere to about 4 lb/2 kg, and can be as fatty as salmon.