Steelhead trout is a great alternative to salmon. It offers that "meaty" property while giving up a bit of the oiliness. Good news is it can still stand up to robust flavours so you don't have to pussyfoot around when it comes to cooking it.
I adapted this recipe from a holiday snack favourite of ours, The Union Square Cafe's Bar Nuts. It turns out this rich, warm flavour profile pairs perfectly with the fish! This is now my go-to recipe when we get a nice piece of steelhead.
Please Note: This simple recipe is really more of a ratio, and can easily be adjusted to the size of fish, or even your palate. Crank up the cayenne if you want to feel the burn, the fish can handle it!
- Preheat your oven to 450°F.
- Combine ingredients in a bowl.
- Rub a thin coating of olive oil on the SKIN SIDE ONLY of the fish. This is important because the first time I made this I oiled the whole thing and the brown sugar/butter mixture rolled right off as soon as it hit the heat. Salt & pepper the skin if you plan on eating it (you better...)
- Turn fish over and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment.
- Press ingredient mixture onto the flesh of the fish.
- Place fish in the oven on the bottom rack. Let cook until you see the edges just start to curl up/the skin getting crispy, and the sugar starting to caramelize. This shouldn't take longer than maybe 6-8 minutes.
- Remove pan. Drizzle any of the seasoning that's dripped off back onto the fish using a spoon. You should find the drippings to be darker and thicker than what's cooked on the flesh, but not burnt.
- Put fish under your broiler to finish. You want to pull it once the sugar has carmelized into a perfect glaze. When working with the broiler I always set a timer every 2 minutes, and stay in the kitchen while it's cooking. It's a great tool but it will burn the crap out of your lovely dinner if you don't respect it!
- Remove cooked fish and place on a rack to cool while you plate the rest of the meal. I find finishing it off with a sprinkle of kosher or sea salt is a really nice touch. For those that don't like the skin the meat can easily be lifted off using a spatula.
I've been hankering to try this out on the BBQ... if any of you winter grill masters are feeling adventurous let me know how it turned out!