Steelhead Trout is native to the colder waters from Northern California up to Alaska. This trout is actually a migratory Rainbow Trout. They spend their lives in the ocean and then migrate to streams and rivers to spawn. The fish are therefore much bigger than the standard stream rainbow trout and can grow to 20 pounds! Interestingly enough, this ocean fish was introduced to the cold waters of Lake Superior in 1895. The Lester River in Duluth is a prime fishery for this trout. The fish in Lake Superior rarely get bigger than 10 pounds, but are prized by anglers due to their fighting ability. As far as I know, they are strictly catch and release now, but very fun to go after. They start coming up the rivers in spring, with the winter thaw after spending two years in the big water. The Knife River and Blackhoof River in Minnesota’s arrowhead region are the prime spawning rivers for these fish, since there are no big waterfalls to keep them from going upstream. Fishermen used to stand elbow to elbow on the rocky shoreline on the Knife during the steelhead run, and ultimately this led to overfishing and decline of the population, especially in the 1980’s. To preserve the fish population, the DNR finally closed the season on steelhead and mandated catch and release only.
The steelhead trout is very much like salmon, but has a much more delicate flavor. If you are kind of turned off by the flavor of salmon, I’d say give steelhead a try. It is really tasty.
I came up with a fool-proof way to cook this fish which makes the fish moist and flaky. You don’t want to overcook this as it will become dry, just like overdone salmon.
I prep the fish by cutting it into portion sized pieces. This filet was 1 Pound 6 ounces. This fish is skin on and there’s no reason to take the skin off since the cooked flesh will pretty much fall off of the skin when done. I cooked the fish in a 12” all-clad pan. Start by drizzling about 2 tbsp of good olive oil in the pan. I also very lightly oil the flesh of the fish. Season the fish with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Then, to give the fish a really fresh taste, I sprinkle lemon zest over all the meat. Start heating the pan with the oil and add ¼ cup of dry white wine. Do this before the oil heats up too much or the wine will bubble and spit. You don’t want that. The heat should be on medium. I start by putting the thickest piece of fish in the pan, skin down, and let in cook for 20 seconds or so, then put in the next thickest piece and cook for another 15 seconds or so then add the thinner tail piece. Let these cook uncovered for 45 seconds more and you’ll start to see the bottom of the fish starting to get done. Then, to keep the fish nice and tender, I cover the pan and cook on low heat for another 5 minutes. No more. Turn the heat off and your fish will be ready to eat. Serve immediately and it will be delicious and moist.
Mary Jo prepared a side dish of leftover potatoes. She added ¼ cup of chopped celery, 5 chopped radishes, 6 chopped sun dried tomatoes, 2 tablespoons of chopped roasted sweet peppers, ¼ cup chopped black olives, 3 chopped green onions and 2 tablespoons of capers. Then drizzled on some of the leftover vinaigrette from the previous night. YUMMY.
A perfect wine to pair with this meal would be Kim Crawford, sauvignon blanc. This wine is very crisp and fresh with grapefruit and mango flavors. It’s a very good value. Try to find it on sale for under $12.
There you have it. Another simple, delicious meal, prepared in the galley of Paradise!