Steelhead Salmon…or is it Trout…..Steelhead Salmon Trout, how about that.
I purchased this piece of fish from a local grocery store where it was labelled Steelhead Salmon but is more commonly known as Steelhead Trout and is raised here in Saskatchewan in Lake Diefenbaker so its as local as most fish gets here in the Prairies.
The fillet caught my eye because it still had the skin on which to me is a selling point as I can use the skin to keep the fish moist as well as giving some crunchy texture.
That’s right fish has skin and attached to that skin are scales which are very easy to remove using a knife and gently scraping from tail to head and then rinsing under cold water.
I mention the skin as nearly all fish and meat in the stores has everything removed before packaging which is a crying shame as you can tell a lot about the product from the skin and especially fish.
If the scales are falling off easily then its old fish if they take a little bit of work then its pretty fresh.
The other factors that the skin gives you and that’s touch, when you touch the skin of a piece of fresh fish it will feel smooth and soft if its dry and rough then once again its old.
The skin also aids in the cooking process by keeping the flesh moist and giving you a great presentation as I mentioned before.

My first task was to remove the scales and on Trout the scales are pretty small so this didn’t take long, then I rinsed the fillet in cold water and patted the fillet completely dry with paper towel.
If you don’t dry fish before cooking then you will not get crispy skin.
I cut this piece into two and cut a few slits in the top of the skin which helps add to the crispiness while cooking.
I cut some fresh dill, popped that into some olive oil, salt and pepper and it was ready to cook.

“Nicoise salad”

Nicoise is a classic French salad made with Tuna, green beans, potato, olives, tomato, boiled egg and capers as the main ingredients, the French also like to serve the veggies raw and also add fresh anchovy fillets.
So for my version I decided to make it a hot and cold version to give some dimension to the palate.

Potatoes- These I “Turned” (shaped) into barrels and boiled with saffron to give a lovely colour, you can see in the photo above the colour leeching out of the saffron strands.
Green Beans-Cut at an angle and blanched then shocked in ice cold water to retain that green colour.
Egg-I soft boiled mine to keep the yolk runny
Tomato- I found on these on the vine and gently roasted them to increase the flavour.
Capers- I made a dressing made of capers,shallot, dijon mustard and lemon juice with some arugala added.
Fish-To cook the fish I took a Cast Iron skillet and got it pretty hot, then placed the fish into the dry pan and allowed the fish to sit there skin side down until a crust began to develop, its very important you don’t move the fish at this point.
Then I moved the pan to a medium hot oven for about 6 minutes until the fish was almost…but not cooked, the fish will continue to cook after removing from the oven.

Once I had all the ingredients together it was just a matter of assembly, I did a couple of plating variations as I’m always looking for the best way to present as well as photograph.
I think this dish turned out pretty good and the contrasts in not the only the way the dish ate (crunchy,soft,tangy) but also in the way the dish looks makes this a very popular summer salad, perfect with some crunchy French bread and a glass of wine.

Thanks to Vanessa, Kelly, penny, Ralanda, Natasha, Donna, Jen, Cat and Beth for following my blog 🙂

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