Are you familiar with steelhead trout? I stumbled upon it by mistake and what a wonderful mistake it was. Several months ago, I ran into BJ’s Wholesale Club (one of our local warehouse chains) to pick up a few things. In my haste, I grabbed what I thought was salmon. It wasn’t until I got home that I realized I had three pounds of steelhead trout on my hands. Steelhead trout? Now what?
I ran a quick search on Google and found that steelhead trout is the seagoing cousin of rainbow trout. But unlike its landlocked, freshwater relative, these babies migrate between fresh and salt water. Sounds a lot like salmon, doesn’t it? They also hang out in the same rivers and streams and share the same diet. So it should come as no surprise that the color, taste and texture of this fish is much like salmon. That explains its mistaken identity! And because of the fish’s medium to high fat content, it can stand up to some pretty bold preparations.
I decided to broil the trout with a deliciously tangy horseradish sauce that I’ve been using for years on salmon. The horseradish and lemon juice in this recipe work great in cutting through the fattiness that tends to linger on your tongue with oily fish. I really think that’s why I’ve been able to convert many of my salmon-averse friends to salmon lovers (or, at a minimum, salmon-eaters). Get rid of that fishy aftertaste and you’ve got yourself a winner! Since steelhead trout is a bit milder than the salmon, it’s perfect for those “in transition.”
My steelhead trout filet came with the skin on. If you’re squeamish about eating fish with the skin, here’s a trick. Preheat the pan under the broiler before placing the fish in it. When the pan is nice and hot, add the fish skin side down. No need to flip it during cooking. The fillets are thin enough to cook through without flaking away to oblivion. When the fish is done, the flesh will very easily slide off of the skin. You can also prepare this recipe on the grill. Simply place the fish on a hot grate, skin side down, until done. Grilling will produce a crispier skin, which I find quite appealing.
Broiled Steelhead Trout with Horseradish Sauce Recipe
1 2 to 3-pound steelhead trout fillet
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
4 teaspoons white wine vinegar
4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
4 teaspoons prepared horseradish
2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat broiler. Place a baking pan in the broiler to preheat. While pan is preheating, make the sauce by whisking together the olive oil and next five ingredients. Add salt and pepper to taste. Carefully remove pan from boiler; coat with cooking spray. Place fish, skin side down, on hot baking pan; season with salt and pepper. Pour half of the sauce over the salmon. Broil until fish is just cooked through, about 5-7 minutes. Serve with remaining sauce drizzled over the fish. Serves 4-6.