Cooking Classes


Poached Steelhead Trout with Lemon Risotto

During the World Women's Curling Championships here in Swift Current I was sourcing a lot of local food for the opening banquet.

One of the items we picked up for the banquet was steelhead trout from Lucky Lake. Wild West Steelhead has a wonderful farm on Lake Diefenbaker. Their fish is very good. Not only is it delicious and fresh they know how to farm fish and be kind to the environment. The fish food is government approved. The eggs are neutered so the fish cannot reproduce, if by chance any escape.

I was immediately impressed by the texture of the fish. It is firm and cooks to flake easily. I think I'll be making that two and a half hour trip over bad country roads at least once a year from now on.

For the banquet the fish was cured and made into gravlax, sliced thinly and added to the starter salad.

Poaching fish is highly under-rated. Poaching is especially convenient in the summer. The fish can be cooked ahead of time and chilled to be served cold or at room temperature. Serve with a homemade mayonnaise or aioli.

I have also included a very easy slow cooker poached version.

Poached Steelhead Fillets with Pimient d’Espelette Mayonnaise
Serve this with a simple green salad dressed in a tarragon vinaigrette, and lemon risotto. Pimient d’espelette is a spice from the Basque region of France and Spain in the Pyrenees near the village of Espelette. It is more delicate than cayenne.
1/3 c. water 75 mL
1/3 c. dry white wine 75 mL
1 shallot, thinly sliced
4 fresh parsley sprigs
1 fresh thyme sprig
2 full fillets of steelhead trout, skin on
Combine 1/3 cup (75 mL) water, wine, shallot, parsley and thyme in large skillet. Place steelhead fillets skin side down in a large pan like a small roaster. Season with salt and pepper. Cover tightly and heat to just under a simmer over medium-low heat until fish is barely opaque in center, about 10 minutes. The liquid should not break into a boil. Remove from heat. Let stand, covered, 5 minutes. Transfer steelhead to a platter. Discard liquid or reserve it to use as fish stock. Cover fish with plastic wrap and chill until cold, at least 4 hours.
Serve steelhead on a platter. Garnish with slices of lemon and serve with pimiento d’espelette mayonnaise. 

Pimient d’Espelette Mayonnaise
1 large egg yolk, at room temperature 30 minutes
1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard 2 mL
1 c. olive or vegetable oil (or a combination), divided
2 tsp. sherry wine vinegar 10 mL
1 1/2 tsp. fresh lemon juice 7 mL
1 tsp. pimient d’espelette 5 mL
2 tbsp. shallots, finely chopped 30 mL
coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Whisk together yolk, mustard, and 1/4 teaspoon (1 mL) salt until combined well. Add about 1/4 cup (60 mL) oil drop by drop, whisking constantly until mixture begins to thicken. Whisk in vinegar and lemon juice, then add remaining 1/2 cup (125 mL) oil in a very slow, thin stream, whisking constantly until well blended. If at any time it appears that oil is not being incorporated, stop adding oil and whisk mixture vigorously until smooth, then continue adding oil. Whisk in salt, black pepper and pimient d’esplette. Chill, covered, until ready to use. This can also be made in a blender and stream the oil in slowly.
The egg yolk in this recipe is not cooked, which may be of concern if salmonella is a problem in your area. Mayonnaise keeps, covered and chilled, up to 7 days.

Simple Poached Steelhead Trout
This method of poaching fish is foolproof. However, it only works for single serving portions rather than a whole side of fish.
1 c. water 250 mL
1/2 c. dry white wine 125 mL
1 yellow onion slice
1 lemon slice
1 sprig dill
1/2 tsp. salt 2 mL
slice 2 steelhead fillets into 6 - single serving portions, without using the thinner tail portions
Combine the water and wine in the slow cooker and heat on high for 20 to 30 minutes. Add the onion, lemon, dill, salt and salmon. Cover and cook on high for about 20 minutes, until the salmon is opaque and cooked through according to taste. Serve hot or cold.  (Adapted from The Gourmet Slow Cooker by Lynn Alley)

Lemon Risotto
2 tbsp. shallots, finely chopped 30 mL
2 tbsp. olive oil 30 mL
1 c. Arborio rice 250 mL
1/3 c. dry white wine 75 mL
2 c. chicken stock, approx. 500 mL
1 tsp. lemon zest 5 mL
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 c. parmesan cheese, grated 60 mL
Saute shallots in olive oil until clear. Add rice and toss until coated in oil. Add wine and cook until reduced by half. Add warm chicken stock a ladle at a time until the rice is cooked to al dente. Stir often. The rice should be cooked but still firm. Remove from heat and add parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.


  1. This dish screams healthy and delicious! The greens on the plates is that the fiddles? You often mention them on and I don't think I have ever seen them-I know I have never eaten them :-)


    1. Yes, those are fiddleheads. They are a northern thing and I doubt you would ever see them in the south. Cross between spinach and asparagus.


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