Roasted Steelhead Trout with Shallot-Grapefruit Sauce

Yesterday was my daughter Madison’s birthday and as the birthday girl, she got to choose dinner.  Madison’s favorite food in the world (besides cheesecake) is salmon, and I’d found this recipe in Fine Cooking weeks ago and set it aside for the occasion.  But when I went to the supermarket yesterday to buy the ingredients, I made a discovery.  Whereas salmon was running $10.99 to $12.99 a pound, they had Steelhead Trout on sale for a mere $3.99!  HOLLLLA!!  I got a pound and a half (and was tempted to buy more).  If you’ve yet to discover this wonder fish, let me tell you.  Steelhead trout looks and tastes so much like salmon, you’ll never know the difference.  This short article says it beautifully, but in sum: salmon are salmon, trout are trout, and no they aren’t the same.  But the two fish do share similarities in breeding patterns, and most definitely look and taste identical.  Today’s recipe is a perfect showcase for either.  The fish is roasted simply, just a brush of olive oil, dusting of black pepper and 15 minutes is all it takes to make it melt in your mouth.  But the sauce elevates it to stardom.  The combination of citrus tang, sweetness and spice – ooo wee! So much flavor and it’s SALT FREE!

Yields 4 servings.

SODIUM CONTENT:  98 mg per serving


1 1/2 lbs. steelhead trout (6 oz. each)
1 T. olive oil
freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 ruby red grapefruits
2 tsp. olive oil
1 shallot, minced
1 t. peeled and minced fresh ginger
2 1/2 t. honey or agave nectar
1/8 t. ground cayenne pepper
2 t. fresh lemon juice
2 T. thinly sliced fresh basil


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the steelhead trout in a baking dish.

Brush with a tablespoon of olive oil and season with freshly ground black pepper to taste. Put the pan in the oven and roast 15 minutes, or just until cooked through.

While the fish is cooking, prepare the sauce. Cut the bottom and top off one of the grapefruits. Stand it on one end and cut down to remove the woolly white pith and peel.

Use a very sharp knife to remove each grapefruit segment from its membrane.

Cut the segments in half and set aside. Juice the other grapefruit and set aside.

In a saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the shallot and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Add the ginger, grapefruit juice, honey or agave nectar and cayenne and stir to combine.  Bring to a simmer, then cook until the sauce is reduced by half, about 10 minutes.

Add the lemon juice.  Right before serving, add the grapefruit pieces and basil to the sauce and stir to combine.

To serve, cut the trout into four segments, place each on a plate and spoon sauce over top.  Serve immediately.

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11 Responses to Roasted Steelhead Trout with Shallot-Grapefruit Sauce

  1. john says:

    It was absolutely delicious – great job! I had no idea I *was not* eating salmon until you told me it was trout. I was still a little skeptical – amazing!

  2. Tracy says:

    I’m not crazy about salmon and have never tried steelhead trout, but this looks so fabulous that I may have to try to make it this weekend! I’m a baker (not a cook at all!), but you make it look so EASY.

  3. Country Wife says:

    YUM! I love salmon, too. We eat catfish quite a bit, and my parents will be bringing up some walleye soon. Saturday we prepared it with lemon juice, 1 tbs butter, dill weed and one slice of swiss cheese. Oh so very, very good. Look forward to trying your grapefruit sauce!

  4. Christy says:

    John: One night we should have a blind taste test – salmon and steelhead trout – and see if any of us can tell the difference between the two. We eat them so interchangeably, I think it’ll be a challenge.

    Tracy: TRY IT! So easy and soooo delicious. 🙂

    Country Wife: Your recipe sounds so yummy — thanks so much for sharing!

  5. I’m fairly certain I caught a trout once. He didn’t look nearly as appetizing as your photo, though, Dishy. Truthfully he was a bit crunch. Are you supposed to remove those scaly things?! 🙂

  6. Christy says:

    YES! Scales = Baaad.


  7. I would never believe that’s not salmon. And you could convince me to eat just about anything by putting a little grapefruit on top!

  8. Christy says:

    I agree! Grapefruit is one of my most favorite flavors and I think my MOST favorite scent of all. Which def. accounts for some of my wine selections. Heavy citrus notes? I am IN.

  9. Shambo says:

    I think fish and grapefruit are a wonderful combination. I’ve eaten a few similarly flavored dishes in restaurants and always enjoyed them. Does the trout have as strong an aroma when cooking as salmon? That’s the one thing I don’t like about cooking salmon in my kitchen. The smell seems to linger for a long time, so I usually grill it outside. But with our weather right now, there’s no grilling in sight for quite a while.

  10. Christy says:

    No kidding. Forecast says 1-3 inches snow tomorrow. I spent the past 2 hrs. out in the garden weeding just to make myself feel better.

    As for the trout, it really seems the same to me as salmon – but I never noticed a strong odor. Doesn’t mean there isn’t one — but neither bother me while cooking. Best guess? If you find salmon too strongly scented, watch out for this trout too. Maybe hold off for cooking outdoors after the thaw.. WHENEVER that comes!! LOL

  11. Char Newman says:

    If your fish of any kind “stinks”, it is NOT fresh. There should be little if any odor, either raw or while cooking. The cooking aromas should be lovely and appetizing!

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