Spit-Roasted Trout in Grape Leaves with Morels, Carrots and Fennel

Hands wrapping full, stuffed trout in grape leaves, on a cutting board on a picnic table.

A Taste of Wild - Pacific Northwest

Jon Moore and Aubrey Gigandet bring you restaurant-worthy recipes you can make on the road, inspired by their travels in the Pacific Northwest.

Spit-Roasted Trout in Grape Leaves with Morels, Carrots and Fennel

It was sixty-eight degrees out, and a wall of gray clouds covered the sky in the Pacific Northwest.  We’d driven a long way and I felt restless. I looked over at Aubrey. She was lost in watching the pine-covered mountains and meandering creeks that run parallel to this stretch of highway between Portland and Newport. We pulled off the road and stopped at a little fly-fishing outfitter in Albany, where the gruff man behind the counter pointed us to the Alsea River off 34. It was thirty minutes out of our way, but we were there for the journey. And the fish.


  • 1 trout
  • 3-4 brined grape leaves
  • 4oz wild morels or other mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 sprigs of thyme, leaves minced
  • 1 bunch baby carrots, peeled
  • 1 bulb fennel with tops, cut into 1/4” x 2” batons
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 1 lemon, sliced 1/8” thick
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, sliced into quarters
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt
  • Black pepper


  • Cutting board
  • Chef’s knife (8” or longer)
  • Peeler
  • Driftwood
  • Cooking twine
  • Medium stainless steel pan
  • Rotisserie set (or cast iron pan)
  • Cooking twine (soaked 1-2 hours in water)


Coat the carrots, wild mushrooms and fennel with olive oil, salt and black pepper. Set them aside.

Descale the trout by running a sharp blade against the scales. This takes some familiarity, so try it once before you make this recipe for people you’re trying to impress. Finally, clean the fish under fresh water to rinse off excess scales.

Place the herbs, lemon slices and 1 pat of butter inside the trout.

Next, shingle-wrap the grape leaves around the trout, and then take the twine and tightly truss the trout to the rod of your rotisserie set up. Put it over a low flame and cook it eight minutes on each side and then rotate 90 degrees and repeat, for a total 32-minute cook time.

Give the fish a head start, and then oil a medium stainless steel pan and place it on the coals of the fire. When it’s hot, add in the carrots, mushrooms and fennel and cook them until they’re tender.

Pull the pan from the heat and deglaze with 1/2 a cup of white wine. “Deglaze” just means to cool down a hot pan with alcohol, usually wine. In this case, we’re using it to form the basis of our sauce.

Return the pan to the heat, and reduce the wine by half. Add and melt the two remaining pats of butter, and then finish the sauce with the capers.

Release the trout from the rod, and cut any excess twine. Plate your vegetables in the center of the serving platter. Top with the trout and some extra sauce from your pan.

Yields 2 servings.

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