Make It Tonight: Steelhead Trout

Jul 13, 2021

Trout is a classic summer food. Freshly caught from an early morning fishing trip, or purchased at your local Calgary Co-op, trout has a mild flavor that is perfect for grilling. The delicate texture of trout can be tricky to work with, but this effort is well worth the effort when you taste just how smoky and delicious trout can be when grilled. When you Make It Tonight, try one of our tasty trout preparations that’s sure to please.

Trout Tips

Trout can be grilled either as a whole fish, or as fillets. If you are grilling a whole fish, you will want to make sure it is cleanly gutted before you start. You can also remove scales if you do not like their texture, but this recipe works either way. Brush the fish with oil, and rub garlic, herbs and salt onto the skin. You will want to make sure the skin is generously dressed, as it can be prone to burning off during the grilling process. Stuff the cavity with fresh herbs or citrus to impart flavor, classic favorites are fennel and lemon. If you want to impart more flavor, roll the herbs with a rolling pin a few times before stuffing, as this will release oil in the plant. Lemons can be rolled by hand before being sliced. Grill for a few minutes on medium heat, until the fish is cooked through. This method produces perfectly flaky, smoky and tangy fish that is low-fuss and easy to adjust as needed for whatever ingredients you have on hand.

If an entire fish seems too daunting to cook, or too complicated to eat, then fillets are for you! You will want skin-on fillets, otherwise you will end up with a flaky mess, as trout grows more delicate as it cooks. Brush the fillets with oil, and season with salt and pepper. Place the fillets, skin side down, on the grates over medium heat. Thinner fillets should be able to fully cook without the need to flip, but thicker fillets may need a little help. Most fish, trout included, is prone to sticking to the grill if not handled correctly, but we have a trick to prevent this from happening. Place tin foil over the heat, directly onto the grates, and flip the fillet so that the skin side is now up, and the flesh side is on the foil. This will allow for the fillet to evenly cook, without falling apart.

Tasty Trout Ideas

To compliment your fillets, there are a few different flavors that will impress: curry, citrus and fennel.

Fennel is a classic trout pairing, and for good reason, its sweet black licorice flavor compliments the smokiness of grilled trout, creating a well-balanced meal, as in our Citrus Stuffed Steelhead Trout with Fennel and Zucchini Noodles.

Fennel can be stuffed into the fish, as previously mentioned, tossed onto the grill (to add to the smoke flavor) or mixed into butter and seasoning that are used to dress the fish. One of the easiest ways to incorporate fennel flavor is through butter. Simply melt butter in a small saucepan with some fresh fennel, simmer until the color of the butter has darkened, usually within a minute or two. You can use this fennel brown butter to dress your fish before cooking, or use it afterwards to produce a sauce.

If the anise flavor of fennel is not your thing, you can use a similar process to produce curry butter, as we have in our Grilled Steelhead Trout with Curried Butter.
This butter will add another layer of smoky flavor to the meal, while adding a nice little kick in too. Curry butter can elevate a morning catch and introduce unexpected flavors into grilling.

Citrus, like lemon or orange, also pairs nicely with the mild, smoky flavor of trout. You can place thinly sliced citrus directly onto the fish while grilling, or squeeze citrus juice into the liquids used to dress the fish before cooking. The sweet acidity of these juices adds brightness to the meal, making the smoky flavors come forward more, and enhancing the tanginess of the overall meal. If you want to add further smoky flavor, grill your citrus before adding to the fish, this will add more smoky flavor and offset some of the tartness. If that all sounds like too much work, you can also grill your citrus and squeeze it directly onto your cooked fish before serving.

Finally, if you need an idea that’s fit for the whole family and you just want to take care of business on the stovetop, try our Pan Seared Steelhead Trout with Brown Butter Cauliflower Rice. The cauli-rice is ultra tasty and a lighter, healthier option that goes perfectly with the fish.


Steelhead Trout with Spicy Kale and Beans


Wk37 Steelhead Trout blog1 side steelhead trout (skin and pin bones removed)
2 Tbsp + 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
2 Tbsp. Cajun Seasoning
1 bunch kale
1 can white beans (navy or kidney)
1 stick celery (sliced on the bias)
½ sweet onion (roughly chopped)
2 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
⅔ cup cherry tomatoes
1 package Cal & Gary’s Steam Powered Asparagus
⅓ cup white wine
½ cup chicken broth
1 Tbsp. hot sauce
salt & pepper


1. Preheat oven to 350 °F.
2. Smother fish in olive oil and Cajun seasoning. Let sit in fridge until ready for use.
3. Heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil in a sauté pan on medium high heat.
4. When oil is shimmering add your chopped onion and sauté until translucent, then add garlic, cherry tomatoes asparagus, and kale.
5. Cook on high heat until tomatoes burst and their juices evaporate.
6. Deglaze pan with white wine, and reduce by at least half. Add beans and chicken stock and simmer until stock has reduced by half, approximately 10 minutes.
7. Season with a pinch of salt pepper and hot sauce to taste.
8. While the stock is reducing, heat another 2 Tbsp. of olive oil in a cast-iron or oven-safe pan.
9. Cook fish skin side down first on medium high heat for 5 minutes then flip fish.
10. Finish cooking the fish in the oven for another 10 minutes at 350°F.
11. Serve fish over warm kale and bean salad.

Three Make It Tonight recipes for Steelhead Trout

Fast MIT

Grilled Steelhead Trout with Curried Butter

Fancy MIT

Citrus Stuffed Steelhead Trout with Fennel and Zucchini Noodles

Family MIT

Steelhead Trout with Spicy Kale and Beans



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