Recipe: Forest Grill Lake Trout

Forest Grill’s Nick Janutol offers sound technique for lake trout.
Photograph by Joe Vaughn

Nick Janutol was raised in a large Italian family in Grosse Pointe Woods. “We had family parties every other weekend that were focused around food and drink,” he says. “This is where my passion for hospitality comes from. When I turned 20, I decided to travel around the country. I did my best to find work at the best restaurants … and soak up as much knowledge as possible. The inevitable goal was to return home to Detroit.” Janutol did return, and he’s now the chef de cuisine at Forest Grill in Birmingham. This recipe, he says, exemplifies his style of cooking: simple flavors with sound technique.


Trout Baked in Salt (Serves 2)

1 lake trout, scaled,
gutted, and rinsed
3 cups sel gris
3 ea. egg white
¼ cup water
1 lemon
3 garlic cloves
1 sprig thyme
1 sprig dill


Preheat an oven to 350ºF. In a mixing bowl, whip the egg whites until you achieve soft peaks. Fold the whites into the water and sel gris mixture to form a paste and reserve for later use.

To prep the trout, run the back of a knife against the skin of the fish toward the head. This will ensure that there are no remaining scales. Thoroughly wash the cavity of the trout to ensure all the blood is out of the fish. Slice the lemon in quarters and combine with the thyme, garlic, and dill. Stuff mixture into the cavity of the trout. On a sheet tray lined with parchment paper, spread 1/3 of the salt mixture evenly in the general shape of the trout. Lay the fish down directly on the salt and cover with the remaining salt mixture. Bake in a 350ºF oven for 20 minutes. When proper doneness is achieved, pull the fish from the oven and let cool at room temperature for 10 minutes. Crack the salt crust with a wooden spoon and carefully remove each fillet and serve with confit potatoes, the double cream, Serrano pepper, snap peas, and the warm tomato vinaigrette.