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Welcome to Seasoned Cooking and to Phil's International Flair!
Well, spring will be upon us this month, and with spring we can expect to enjoy new growth and healthy food. Like most folks, I like to shop for good deals. So, when something is on sale, I'll purchase that item and plan a meal around that item.
For example, at this time of year in the North American continent, asparagus is in season and priced reasonably low. So, if I can work asparagus into a meal, I will make every effort to do so. In addition, one other resource happens to be in season at this time of year and that is steelhead. For those who don't know, the steelhead is a rainbow trout that migrates to the ocean and returns to its natal stream to spawn, like a salmon. Steelhead can reach 20 pounds or more, but today they are an endangered species in most California streams. Anglers are, however, allowed to keep one hatchery reared steelhead per day in some rivers and streams. So, if you can catch your own seafood, so much the better!
I had an opportunity to go steelhead fishing with my cousin Sandy at the invitation of Brent Rinker. I met Brent while fishing in Alaska and he is an excellent guide. Brent works for California Fish and Game at the state hatchery on Lake Sonoma. Sandy caught the first steelhead of her life, and it was quite an experience for her.
On January 19, Sandy and I met Brent on the Russian River in Guerneville, CA at 6:30 am. Ice coated the ground as we launched the boat and began our float down the river. Fortunately, Brent had a heater on the boat so I could keep my hands thawed out. By 8 am I had hooked and lost my first steelhead. However, by the end of the day I had released 5 fish and kept one to bring home.
We didn't get off the river until it was dark, but we had a good day. It was relaxing and peaceful drifting down the river, and exciting when one of us hooked a fish. It was quiet except for the squawking of the birds and sound of the water flowing. Life doesn't get much better than a day of successful fishing.
So, Sandy and I returned home late in the evening. I promptly vacuum sealed and froze our fish so we could enjoy it together at some future opportunity. The recipe that follows is what I have planned for a dinner this Sunday.
Now, on to the recipe! Be well, and good eating!
Steelhead can be prepared in any way that you would cook salmon or trout. The meat is almost red like salmon with the meat of the male fish being lighter than the female fish. The flavor of steelhead is similar to both trout and salmon.
4 steelhead fillets, allow 8 oz. per person
8 asparagus spears, blanched
Hollandaise sauce (may be prepared from package)
2 lemons, quartered
10 sprigs parsley
1 package Hollandaise sauce prepared according to package directions
Salt and pepper to taste
Season the steelhead fillets with salt and pepper. If you like, you may add any additional seasonings or dried herbs such as savory, dill, capers or tarragon. Use any additional seasonings in very moderate amounts. Place each fillet in foil, top with 2 slices of lemon, and seal for baking. Bake the fillets at 375 degrees in a preheated oven for 20 minutes. Allow to rest for 5 minutes before opening the foil and serving.
While the fish is baking, finely chop 6 sprigs of parsley and reserve 4 sprigs for garnish. Also prepare the Hollandaise sauce. Blanch the asparagus spears in boiling water for approximately 4 minutes.
When the steelhead fillets are done, remove from the foil and place on serving dishes. Top with 2 asparagus spears and a helping of Hollandaise sauce. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and garnish with a quarter lemon and a parsley sprig.