With the planet shrinking into one global village, refrigerated containers regularly land in Israel, carrying exotic fish raised in the far corners of the world. Importers fly the fish in because there is a demand for them, and customers are willing to underwrite their cost - and airline tickets. But the fish that swim right under our very noses and make their way onto our plates are sometimes treated with the sort of disdain reserved for someone who's not hard to get.

The chapter on fresh fish in Yisrael Aharoni's 1998 book "Dagim" opens with this description: "The trout is one of the noblest fish in existence. Its flesh is white, firm, tender and particularly delicate ... You can make wonderful delicacies from trout with minimal work, because it is suitable for cooking, frying, baking, grilling and smoking. Smoked trout is one of the best and finest delicacies around."

Unlike its well-regarded relative, (imported ) salmon, trout is farmed in dozens of fish ponds in the Dan River, guaranteeing its availability year round (the largest, Dan Fish Farms, raises some 500 tons each year, and rules the market with a high hand ). Fishermen cannot compete with the sophisticated fish-farming industry, and, for their part, gourmands look down their noses at the latter's fish, and claim their flavor and texture cannot compare with those raised in the wild. That may be true, although it is not certain that everyone who makes this claim can actually tell the difference.

For those who are not familiar with fresh trout, it is certainly worth a taste. This is a succulent fish, delicate and tasty, suitable for all modes of cooking and easy to debone, both before and after it is cooked. When the choice is between fresh trout or another frozen fish flown in from abroad (however noble it be ), the trout usually swims away with the prize.

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