Editor’s Note: The Best of Bud is a compilation of advice and recipes gathered by the late Ralph W. “Bud” Leavitt who retired as the Bangor Daily News executive sports editor and outdoor editor in the fall of 1988. He continued to write a weekly column until his death on Dec. 20, 1994. During his nearly half-century as the BDN’s outdoor columnist he penned more than 13,000 columns and one book, “Twelve Months in Maine.” While some of the folks Bud interviewed have died, their contributions and memories remain with us.
Nathaniel F. Bradley is an executive of Sears, Roebuck and Co., located at the Sears Tower in Chicago.
Since boyhood, Nat has lived for and treasured moments in the field hunting and fishing.
He got to know and love Maine early in his career with Sears when it included a short training period with the company in Bangor.
Bradley, since those early days as a trainee manager, has fished a number of well-known Atlantic salmon streams in Canada, shot waterfowl and upland game in the Midwest, and periodically gets to fish tarpon and bonefish in Florida as Ted Williams’ guest.
In the final count, however, nothing in Bradley’s tackle collection quite matches the joy of trout fishing. His deep-rooted interest in trout fishing accounts for a particular way of preparing speckled trout at brook or streamside.
Nat Bradley’s method of preparing brookies at streamside:
1- to 2-pound trout, butted with gills removed, head, tail and fins intact.
Wipe or scrape excess stream slime from exterior of body. Rub inside cavity thoroughly, covering rib cage with heavy coating of butter. Use salt and pepper liberally (fresh ground peppercorns preferred) on buttered area.
Fill full length of cavity to point of overflowing with finely diced onions. Wrap fish in rectangular piece of aluminum foil, one sufficiently large to allow sealing fish in envelope-like fashion, single layer with sides folded in and long sides folded together to ensure near-airtight package.
Bradley wants the campfire burned down to intensely hot, flameless coals. He then places wrapped fish flat on wire grid 6 to 10 inches above heat for approximately 15 minutes on each side.
Fish will poach in juices, he says, created by butter and onions, and should not stick to the aluminum foil but remain intact when ready for serving.
If you like an additional flavor, he says, this can be provided by adding 1 ounce of dry vermouth to stuffed cavity before sealing in foil.
4 trout, about ¾ pound, preferably taken from Washington County’s Tomah Stream — but brookies from other streams work as well in a cooking pan.
1 teaspoon salt
Dash of fresh-ground white pepper
4 tablespoons heavy cream or undiluted evaporated milk
1 teaspoon butter or solid margarine
2 teaspoons chopped fresh chives
4 thin slices uncooked ham or 8 slices Canadian bacon
After cleaning and trimming off tails, fins and head, dust the trout inside and out with salt and pepper. Butter a shallow baking dish and lay the fish in it. Put a slice of ham or two slices of bacon on top of each trout. Cook covered in a preheated 350-degree oven for 10 minutes, then pour the cream over the fish and return to the oven uncovered for an additional 8 to 10 minutes.
Sprinkle with the chopped chives just before taking the trout to the table.