Rainbow trout (also known as Steelhead trout) is a beautiful, tasty North American fish related to salmon. It is found in fresh water lakes and rivers, as well as in the Pacific Ocean. Unlike its farmed counterparts, wild-caught rainbow trout has a pinky-orange colour (more orange than the pink farmed stuff) and a nutty flavour that works well with a variety of accompanying flavours. It is low calorie and rich in protein, as well as omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA. DHA and EPA omega-3 fatty acids are thought to prevent heart disease, and also play a key role in memory and cognitive function. This means rainbow trout is an excellent option for pregnant women, and adults wishing to reduce their risk for Alzheimer’s disease. In other words, it is excellent brain food.
Because rainbow trout is related to salmon, it can be cooked in much the same way. In this recipe, I chose to steam my fish with the accompanying pasta and veg, in order to lock in as much of the beautiful flavours as possible. When I’m cooking at home, I tend to utilize whatever I have on hand at the time. I had a bunch of produce that needed to be used up, and a small bit of shell pasta left that was the perfect amount to use as a side to my trout. If you have any vegetables in the fridge that are going to go bad soon, this is the perfect way to use them up. It doesn’t really matter which vegetables you add to your dish, but the more colour and variety you can incorporate, the better! I used a green pepper, one and a half red peppers, some broccoli, and some cherry tomatoes for a bit of pop. The goal with veggies like peppers is to slice them as thinly as you can, and also keep them all about the same size so they cook at the same rate. This entire meal doesn’t take very long to cook, so if the slices are too thick they will not cook properly. With vegetables such as broccoli, just try to cut them down to about the same size as the pasta, to keep everything bite-friendly and uniform. I threw the cherry tomatoes in as-is, so they would blister a bit in the cooking process and pop in the mouth when eaten.
For ease in cooking, make sure to have all the veg prepped and ready to go before you begin. Start by boiling the pasta to just al-dente (remember it will be introduced to more liquid and cooking later, so if it is fully cooked to begin with it will definitely become mushy by the time it is done). Once the pasta is cooked, heat a pan with a good amount of butter, and sautee the veg and pasta together for a minute. Place the fish filets flesh-side down (skin-side up) on top of the pasta and veg, and pour a generous amount of wine (about 3/4 cup or so if cooking for 2-4) into the bottom of the pan. Quickly cover the pan, in order to allow the fish to cook and absorb the flavours of the wine and veg. The fish will cook quickly, so check on it after a few minutes. Once it has firmed up, remove it from the pan and place onto a baking sheet while the pasta and veg finish. The skin should slip easily off the fish once removed from the pan, the only tricky part is making sure the fish doesn’t fall apart when it is being taken out of the pan. Make sure the wine is properly cooked out before serving the pasta, as the taste of uncooked wine is really unappealing. Before transferring the pasta to the plates, grate some parmigiano and asiago cheeses into the mix, and finish with a bit more butter if necessary. This is all the pasta and veg will be dressed with, so be a little bit generous with these ingredients.
To finish my plate, I like to drizzle a bit of extra virgin olive oil over the pasta and the fish. Soft herbs like basil, parsley or sage work nicely as garnish and additional flavouring.
I also garnished my fish with a savoury granola, which adds a great crunch and a bit more flavour. This granola mixture is easy to make, stores well, and can be used on top of salads as an alternative to nuts, amongst other things. I like to make a batch and just keep it on hand, to use as needed. To make the granola, mince garlic finely (1 to 2 cloves is plenty) and mix with oats, salt, some honey for sweetness, and a bit of canola oil. Lay it on a baking sheet lined with parchment, and bake in a 350F oven for 5 to 10 minutes. Remember to keep an eye on the granola so it doesn’t burn. Once it has turned a golden brown colour, remove from the oven and allow to cool before using. Store in an airtight container for up to a month.
Rainbow trout with Shell pasta and vegetables
You will need:
- 2 filets of rainbow trout
- 1 ½ cups shell pasta, cooked al-dente
- 1 green pepper, finely sliced
- 1 red pepper, finely sliced
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 1 shallot, finely sliced
- 1 head of broccoli, chopped into small pieces
- 8 cherry tomatoes
- ½ cup white wine
- 3 tbsp butter
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ¼ cup grated parmigian and asiago cheese
- 12 leaves of basil, sliced
- Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
- Savoury granola mixture (see below)
1. In a pan over medium-high heat, heat the butter and cook the shallots and garlic for about 30 seconds until translucent. Add the peppers, broccoli, tomatoes, and pasta, and toss together.
2. Place the fish skin-side up on top of the pasta and veg. Immediately pour the wine into the pan (trying to get it to the bottom and avoiding pouring over the fish), and cover the pan.
3. Cook fish for 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a baking sheet when done, and remove the skin before serving.
4. Continue to cook pasta and veggies for a few more minutes, sautéing well and making sure all the alcohol is cooked out of the wine.
5. Finish with a small amount of butter, and season with salt and pepper. Grate cheese over pasta mixture, and mix well to make sure it’s evenly coated.
6. Place pasta and veggie mixture onto plates, and drizzle with a small amount of olive oil and top with herbs.
7. Place the fish over top of the pasta, and finish with a small amount of the granola mixture, and some more shaved parm if desired.
8. Serve immediately.
You will need:
- 1 ½ cup oats
- ½ cup canola oil
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tsp honey
- ½ tbsp salt
1. In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients. Toss together to ensure all the oats are evenly coated.
2. Lay out evenly onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
3. Bake at 350F for about 10 minutes, until golden brown.
4. Allow to cool, and store in an airtight container.