Ok, I lied. Before unveiling an awesome new technique for steelhead to the world, I’m going to unveil a new way to serve them up.
While rolling around on the high seas with Mark Chmura, we bagged a small fish—a mint-bright, four-pound hen. I told Mark we needed something for dinner that night and he boxed it (all other steelhead we caught that day went back to their cold, forbidding home under the rolling swells).
The flesh was bright orange—almost fluorescent (a very good sign; white flesh in a steelhead generally indicates a strong, fishy flavor that most find unappealing). As a general rule, fish from the lake result in better cuisine than fish from the river. And the farther from the river they are, the better they tend to be. Remember—we found this girl 4 miles out.
Fillet the fish, cut the fillet into strips about 1.5-inches wide, then cut the strips in half. Coat lightly with light olive oil. Rub with homemade curry powder (see post on Trout With Plantain In Wine Sauce for the curry recipe). Use enough to coat well. We used a couple tablespoons for this small, 4-pound trout. Then refrigerate for at least an hour to overnight (or bag them in FoodSaver GameSaver storage bags, seal and freeze for a quick, easy meal somewhere down the road).
When almost ready for dinner, put about 2 to 3 inches of oil in the bottom of a sauce pan over a large burner and turn the heat to high. Take the fish out and coat each piece individually and lightly with corn starch. Make sure the oil is good and hot. Fry in batches so they fit in one level (not stacked)—about 4 to 6 at a time. Fry each batch for about 4 minutes—until nice and golden. Remove with a slotted spoon, place on paper towel and immediately sprinkle with sea salt while still nice and hot. Cover and finish the other batches.
After being rolled, tossed, and battered all day yourself, what a quick, easy, awesome meal. And a great way to serve fresh salmon or steelhead any time. With no heavy batter to retain oil, the meal is light, easy on the digestive tract, and ever so tasty.
Next—Steel on hair (I promise).