Steelhead are "one of the most sporting and greatest-tasting fish in the world," declares Food Guy and fisherman Jon Jackson. If you're not prepared to freeze while fighting a cart-wheeling wild steelhead in an Idaho river this fall, you can still buy farmed steelhead, which the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch places in its "best choice" category for responsibly-farmed fish. Steelhead are sold as whole sides. They're not always de-boned; be sure to ask.
For Other Food Guy Greg Patent's "plain" steelhead recipe, you'll need a one-and-a-half pound filet of steelhead (one side of the fish); a couple of teaspoons of olive oil; salt and pepper to taste; and lemon wedges, for serving. Check the fish for tiny bones and remove them with tweezers.
Line a 18" x 12" x 1" sheet pan with aluminum foil and set the fish diagonally skin-side down onto the foil. Adjust an oven rack to the center position and preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Rub the flesh with 1 to 2 teaspoons of olive oil. Sprinkle lightly with table salt and grind fresh pepper to taste onto the fish. Bake for 20 minutes.
Remove the pan from the oven and insert a digital instant-read thermometer into the thickest part of the fish, near the head. The temperature should read between 125 and 130 degrees F. If the fish is a degree or two higher, that’s okay. If it's lower than 125 degrees, return it to the oven a few minutes more. The fish is ready to serve.
Divide into portions and serve with a salad. Makes 4 servings.
Over the years, Greg has developed an Asian glaze that goes very well with steelhead and with true salmon. You can find all the Asian ingredients in most well-stocked supermarkets. The glaze works with any salmonid.
Combine all sauce ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to the boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. The sauce will become slightly thickened. Cool completely before using. Spoon the sauce all over the fish’s flesh. Cook as with the plain version.
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1 thinly sliced scallion, white and green parts
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
2 tablespoons light soy, such as Tamari
1 tablespoon dry sherry
1 tablespoon roasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon honey or agave
1 tablespoon mirin (seasoned rice wine vinegar)
1 tablespoon champagne vinegar or distilled white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch or arrowroot