If fish could have neuroses, this one might suffer from an identity crisis. Although it is part of the rainbow trout family, when it’s butchered and ready for cooking it looks more like salmon than any kind of trout I’ve ever seen. Our friends at Hooked on Fish reported that a few customers called them in confusion, wondering if there had been a mistake. “No, no, I ordered the trout!” It’s enough to make any sea trout call its therapist to schedule an emergency session.
This fellow really shouldn’t worry. He’s got a well-respected lineage and comes from a good neighborhood off the western coast of Scotland. Loch Etive is a fjord fed by both river and sea, creating an environment tailor-made for this fish to thrive.
- Pan-roasted Sea Trout with Roasted Garlic Compound Butter
- Sautéed Spinach with Bacon, Onion and Garlic
- Brown rice/Quinoa blend
- Wine ??? I’m pretty sure we drank some but have no idea what it was or what we thought of it. Oh well.
The treatment – adding flavored butter -- is simple, classic and works well with most any fish. I put the leftover butter in my freezer, wrapped in a wax paper and then in plastic. Cut a little off every now and then to top a bowl of steaming vegetables or give a chicken breast a little sump’n sump’n.
As to the sides, any dish with bacon has an edge already. The spinach did not disappoint. It takes a little extra time since you have to completely cook the bacon first (I do it in the oven on a baking rack). The brown rice/quinoa blend was from a packet – 90 seconds in the microwave and pretty tasty to boot.
This is not so much of a recipe as a concept, or basic cooking treatment involving a spice rub, sear-then-roast process, and a delicious compound butter to finish things off. Hat tip to the Tablespoon website for the compound butter recipe.
- Spice rub, about 1/4 cup more or less. Rub can be anything you like -- I had some leftover that has smoky tea leaves crushed up with dried thyme, paprika, star anise and black peppercorns. Other options include garlic powder + dried oregano + marjoram, or sesame seeds with dried orange peel and dried chili. Be sure to always add salt.
- Approx. 1 lb sea trout fillets, skin on
- One batch of Roasted Garlic and Lemon Compound Butter
- Make the compound butter first. It needs to chill at least 2 hours before using.
- Rinse fish fillets and pat dry with a paper towel.
- If your spice rub doesn't include salt, go ahead and salt the fish now, both sides.
- Generously sprinkle the spice rub over both sides of the fish; massage it in with your hands. Let the fish sit, covered, at room temperature to soak up the flavors while you prepare the other elements of the meal.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Heat a heavy-duty oven-proof skillet over high heat.
- When pan is hot add fillets, skin side down. Don't crowd the pan!
- Leave them alone for at least 2 minutes, then start carefully checking to see if the sear has taken hold. If the fish is ready to be turned, it will come up easily with a spatula. If not, wait another minute and try again.
- Once you've turned the fish -- the seared skin side should now be facing up -- put the skillet in the oven to finish cooking the fish by roasting it.
- Start checking the fish for doneness after about 3 minutes. To judge if your fish is fully cooked, make a small cut with a paring knife to see if the flesh has turned from translucent to opaque.
- Plate the fish fillets and top with a slice of roasted garlic and lemon compound butter. Serve with lemon wedges and enjoy!