Trout Time

It’s been a couple of years since I wet a line. It’s not that I don’t like to fish. I really do. It just seems that whenever the opportunity to fish has arisen the past few years, something has always come up. Maybe that will change this summer.

I miss sitting in a boat on a nice sunny day and catching fish as much as the next person. And I like eating the catch even more.

When a friend at the gym talked about her night’s supper plans, which included steelhead trout, I fondly recalled fishing for rainbows on Bad Medicine Lake in Minnesota and how good the fish tasted.

Granted, it wasn’t walleye, but whenever I cooked trout, whether on the grill, pan-fried or poached, those babies sure were good. 

Of course, you don’t have to go fishing to get trout these days. It’s readily available in grocery stores year-round. Steelhead trout, raised on fish farms often is on sale in fillet form in supermarkets. The flesh is bright red, much like Atlantic salmon, and tastes more or less like a leaner version of that other popular farmed species.

For those of you who do your fishing in the store, here’s a recipe for steelhead cakes. And it would work for anglers, too.

Gingered Steelhead Cakes with Red Pepper Slaw
2 red bell peppers, cored, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, slivered
Salt, freshly ground black pepper
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ teaspoon sugar
¼ cup cornmeal
Salt, ground red pepper
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons soy sauce
½ teaspoon hot pepper sauce or Worcestershire sauce
1½ pounds steelhead or salmon fillet, skinned, cut into ¼-inch dice
12 saltines or 3 rye crackers, crushed
2 tablespoons each: butter, oil
Toasted split rolls for serving (optional)
For slaw, toss peppers in medium bowl with garlic, salt, black pepper, lemon zest and juice, oil and sugar. Set aside.
For cakes, mix cornmeal with salt and red pepper to taste in medium bowl. Set aside. Mix egg with ginger, garlic, soy sauce and pepper sauce in large bowl. Add steelhead; toss to coat. Stir in cracker crumbs. Form mixture into 8 cakes about ½- to ¾-inch thick. (If mixture is too wet, add more crushed cracker.) Coat cakes with cornmeal mixture, brushing off excess.
Heat 1 tablespoon each of the butter and oil in large skillet over medium heat. Cook 4 cakes, turning once, until golden brown and cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Drain on warm plate lined with paper towels. Keep warm. Repeat with remaining butter, oil and cakes. Serve on buns if desired, accompanied by red pepper slaw.
Yield: Serves 4.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 545 calories, 58 percent calories from fat, 35 grams fat (8 grams saturated), 170 milligrams cholesterol, 775 milligrams sodium, 21 grams carbohydrate, 37 grams protein, 2.5 grams fiber.