Saturday, March 20, 2010

A Tale of Two Trout

Both of these are called steelhead trout, according to the fish market inside Harris Teeter. Sometimes they are called rainbow in the ad. So what is the story?

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The one on the top left is a fillet that is a single portion size, white fleshed and quite mild. The one on the right is a much larger, redder flesh and takes like a milder, flakier salmon. The one pictured bottom left is 'whole, dressed steelhead trout" that is the same size as the one above it, but cooking it with the bones inside made for a much richer flavor. So just WHAT is a steelhead trout?

The first internet search only showed only the larger fish and I was puzzled as to what my small fish had really been. However, another search informed me: because of new research, scientists have developed environmental raceways and improved feeding conditions to encourage the production of fast- rowing, healthy trout. Improved production practices, selective breeding and utritionally complete feeds now make it possible to produce market size (10- to 14-ounce) trout in as little as 10 months.

I went to HT on Friday expecting to see those nice, small fillets. Seeing none, I asked the attendant if they were sold out, and he pointed to what I had assumed were salmon fillets. I was disappointed, my vision of a nice sweet fillet finished off with mushrooms in butter sauce fading away, but decided I wanted fish and was curious as to why some different fillets had the same name.

The large fillet was outstanding. We liked this fish better than salmon. I seasoned the fish with coriander, pepper, salt, and paprika. I have recently discovered that I love coriander seasoning. I browned the flesh side of the fish, tossed it onto a baking sheet, skin side down and roasted it.

The topping on the large fillet is chopped navel orange segments mixed with lemon juice and sweet chili sauce. An idea from a tv cooking show and it was really, really good. Navel oranges are now at peak season, which is why they are so sweet and juicy.
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