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Poached Trout
prose [ ]

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by [jaw ]

2013-10-08  |     | 

Poached Trout

First, I must explain that I hadn’t gotten laid in four months and eighteen days. You see Claire and I broke up four months ago. Well, as I’m being honest, she dumped me for some muscle-bound jock.
I had been dating Samantha for two weeks and four days. I was ready to slip between the sheets with her I’ll tell you. Good and ready. She, however, did not feel the same sense of urgency, and I needed to bring her around.
I needed to impress her.
Women love a man who can cook. I unfortunately, am a sad excuse for a chef. However, I am a man and have the inherent ability that flows through the North American male to barbeque. The small deck of my condo contains a medium sized grill. I own all the necessary utensils and have a cupboard filled with marinades and seasonings of every kind. On my barbecue, I can do burgers, hotdogs, steak, ribs, fish, lamb, and every imaginable vegetable.
I am a grilling machine.

If you wish to impress a woman, you must do your research. For example, there is no sense in cooking steak on Friday night if she only eats fish that day, or it would be stupid to cook meat at all if she is a vegetarian.
“Know thine date,” is my motto, “in both ways if possible…”
I eased the conversation around to food with great charm and subtlety.
“So, ah… Samantha, wadd’r yer favourite things ta eat?”
“I like fish,” she replied. “My favourite is trout or salmon, especially poached.”
“Oh,” I replied a little shocked by the confession, but I soon mastered myself. “That’s cool, even sounds like fun.”
She gave me an odd look.
Needless to say, I didn’t get laid that night but I now had some ammunition with which I could dazzle her. She would soon be putty in my hands.

I decided on trout, as salmon wouldn’t be in season for another three months. There was a small glitch. I needed the items to poach the trout with. I mean, I had never poached trout or any fish before so I decided that research was in order.
I went online.
The first site I hit, turned out to be a goldmine of information. Who could have imagined there were so many ways to poach fish? Not me, that’s for sure. After checking out all the available options, I decided on the method that looked to have the best chance of success for a beginner, though it wasn’t the cheapest… by a long shot. But hey, if it got Samantha into my bed it would be worth every penny. Oh yeah.
First, I would need a small boat. One with an electric motor was to be preferred. Well, I could understand that! A good, waterproof flashlight was next on the list and then a sturdy landing net. The most difficult to obtain would be the half stick of dynamite, but I had a friend in the demolition business. All is possible to those who persevere.
As it is not far from where I live, I decided to poach the fish from Deer Lake since it is stocked with both rainbow and cutthroat trout. Following the instructions, I went well after dark, though getting the small boat and other paraphernalia through the large rocks that protected the perimeter, proved to be quite a hassle.
But an unlaid man can be persistent.
It was close to one in the morning when I finally got the boat, motor, net, flashlight, and dynamite all onto the lake and shoved out. When, as best as I could tell, I was in the middle of Deer Lake, I turned off the small motor and prepared to poach some fish.
I would have one lone chance, my buddy had not been willing to part with more than the minimum amount of dynamite required and at that insisted on some of the catch.
Yeah, whatever.
The night was calm. I sat in the small aluminium boat for a few minutes savouring my soon-to-be bit of law breaking. It was exhilarating and I could see why Samantha felt such enjoyment eating poached trout, though I thought that next time I would invite her along. If this got her into bed, just imagine what coming on the actual hunt would do to her?
Wow! My mind reeled at the thought.
I lit the fuse, and as my bud had told me, I waited until it almost entered the stick. I dropped it into the water and cranked the motor to full throttle, which all of a sudden didn’t seem very fast at all. The little boat began to chug along with me cursing it and making rowing motions with my hands as if that could make the small craft move faster. Why hadn’t I tossed the damn thing as far as I could?
It blew.
The explosion was muted by the water, as stated on the information I read, but nowhere had it been mentioned that it would create a tidal wave. Nowhere at all.
It was a geyser as tall as the CN Tower.
It certainly seemed that way to a skinny lad in a tiny aluminium boat I will tell you. Whoa. The boat flew up into the tsunami I had created and I am sure that I was airborne for at least twenty seconds. My craft smashed back into the water and I feared it must have split into two, or more, pieces, but it seemed that everything was intact, except for me. I had more than a scratch or two. I sighed a long, slow breath of relief. When I was once more in control of my faculties, I reached into the boat to find the flashlight and net. It had not occurred to me to lash the damn things down, but after a few minutes of frantic patting around, I found them both.
I turned on the powerful light and everywhere I shone it there were dead trout floating on the surface of the water. Eureka! This was the mother load. I plunged the net into the water and began to scoop up my catch. A few minutes went by when I realized that the boat was very low in the water. I reached down to touch the hull through the fish, and found it slimy but dry.
What the hell?
It took a few moments, but I realized that my small craft was overloaded. I should have dumped a few of the fish back into the lake, but all of a sudden, the Scotsman in me came out, and I found that I couldn’t part with a one of them.

The little electric motor strained and plugged along. A bit of a breeze came up and brought with it some chop. My knuckles whitened on the throttle as the boat dipped and bobbed, taking on water, but I held firm to my resolution. I headed for what I hoped was the shore.
My acute sense of direction, or perhaps luck, brought me to land near where I had launched my craft, before it could sink. It took a while to bail it out.
There was another problem.
Of course.
I had brought with me one plastic grocery bag, not near enough for the fish I had poached. There might be more in the car, I reasoned as I dragged the boat to the boulder-lined perimeter. That took more than an hour. I would drag it a few yards and then stop and rest. My hands were rope burned, my back ached, and the muscles in my arms cramped with excessive enthusiasm. I had pushed and pulled the damn boat full of fish until it butted against the rocks. There I collapsed for a few minutes… well… closer to half an hour.
I filled the solitary grocery bag with trout until it overflowed and ran to the car, stumbling in the dark. I tripped and fell on my face in front of my auto splitting my lip on the pavement of the street outside the park. Even this did not deter my determination and after hurling the bag of fish into the trunk, I rummaged around and came up with some reusable cloth shopping bags.
I confess that it did occur to me that perhaps it was a bad idea to use reusable bags to hold slimy, dead fish, but what is a horny young man to do?
I filled all three bags but the boat was still full of trout. I shrugged and emptied them into the trunk and refilled them… three times. Two more trips brought the boat, motor and net to the car and I fastened them to the car top carrier as the sun rose, orange in the sky.

I missed work that day, glad that it was Friday. I spent the morning gutting and scaling more fish than I had in my life until then and likely, in all my previous lives put together. I put two in the fridge to marinate, a dozen I set aside for my buddy–the one with the dynamite—and the rest I put into my chest freezer. It took a while to reorganize it. Later, my ‘friend’ told me he had packed a ‘little extra’ wallop into the stick he gave me.
A little? Yeah, I’m sure.
At two in the afternoon I went to my bedroom and collapsed onto the bed, prostrate and spread eagled. I don’t remember my head hitting the pillow, but I did manage to set the alarm for 5 PM.

There was screaming in my ear. It took me ten or fifteen seconds to realize it wasn’t Claire but the alarm clock. I struggled to the bathroom to pee and have a quick shower.
I felt close to human after three cups of coffee. At six-thirty, I fired up the barbeque. I put the veggies on first, they would take longer to cook than the fish. If Samantha had arrived on time, the trout would have been ready five minutes later. As it was, the trout came off the grill seven minutes before she got there. Not the end of the world.

“I’m starving,” she said as she walked in the door. I received a smile and a peck on the cheek.
“Glad to see you too,” I answered.
She grinned.
A good sign.
“I smell fish cooking.”
“It’s ready,” I said as I took her hand and led her to the dining room table.
I ran to the kitchen and pulled the prepared plates from the oven, removed the foil and hurried back to the dining room.
“Poached trout!” I exclaimed with enthusiasm.
“This is not poached,” she replied with animation.
“Sure it is,” I insisted. “I poached it myself.”
“This has been barbequed,” she told me in a snooty tone.
“Well… yeah. After I poached it.”
She gave me an incredulous stare.
I explained… from the beginning.
I soon found that I had misunderstood.
Completely and utterly misunderstood.
Who would have imagined in their wildest dreams that poaching was cooking in water? Not me, that’s for sure. I was damned, I thought.
Samantha laughed, then ate the grilled trout.
“Not half bad,” she said. I’m too tired to drive home, I hope you don’t mind if I stay the night.”
“I don’t mind at all,” I confessed, overjoyed at the thought.
I got laid that night.
We ate a lot of trout for the next while, some poached and sometimes barbequed. We always made love afterwards. Samantha refused to go with me anywhere in my car though… something to do with the smell. I had to sell it for scrap in the end, and throw away my reusable shopping bags too. The trout ran out after awhile but salmon season was now in full swing.
Samantha and I made plans…

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