Apr 11, 2019

Crispy Blackened Steelhead Trout with Cilantro Cream Sauce

Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Fillets of sustainable steelhead trout topped with a creamy cilantro sauce served over a bed of rice.

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I had something similar at a taco shop in the little town of Orange just south of Los Angeles. Unless I know that a place is known for a certain specialty I try to pick the most unique thing on the menu. At Taco Adobe, a little restaurant off the main strip of downtown Orange, it happened to be salmon with cilantro walnut pesto. I loved the creamy and mild sauce that was served over the salmon. I was planning on saving half for dinner but I ended up eating the remaining half while sitting in traffic on the drive back to Santa Monica.

Crispy Blackened Steelhead Trout with Cilantro Cream Sauce

Key Ingredients in This Recipe

  • Steelhead trout – Steelhead is a great alternative to salmon because it tastes very similar (just a bit more mild) and it’s a more sustainable option than farm-raised salmon. I often use the two interchangeably. It’s an easy swap and can be found at many grocery stores or fish markets – plus it has a gorgeous bright color.
  • Cilantro – Because the cilantro is blended into the sauce it’s a great way to use up any of the herb thats a bit wilted and on it’s way out. It adds an herby flavor to the cream sauce that complements the blackened salmon.
  • Walnuts – Walnuts are added to the sauce and cooked in the cream before it’s blended until smooth and creamy. It adds a nutty flavor and works to thicken the cream sauce.
  • Spices – For the blackened fish I use a combination of chili powder, paprika and cayenne pepper. As the fish is cooked the spices darken and give the fish a deep flavor.
Crispy Blackened Salmon with Cilantro Cream Sauce over rice with avocado and tomatoes

How to Make Crispy Blackened Steelhead with Cilantro Cream Sauce

  • Sauté the aromatics for the sauce. Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the butter and allow to melt. Add the shallots and Serrano pepper sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Next, add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about an additional 30 seconds.
  • Make the cilantro cream sauce. First, add walnuts and white wine, cooking until the wine has reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Secondly, stir in the cilantro, heavy cream, lime juice, coriander and simmer for an additional 15 minutes.
  • Bland the sauce. Use an immersion blender (or add to a blender) and pulse until the sauce is combined.
  • Season the fish. Season filets with salt, pepper, chili powder, paprika and cayenne. Then, heat a large oven-proof skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil and heat through.
  • Pan-sear the steelhead. Place the steelhead filets, skin-side up in the pan and cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Flip over and continue to cook until the filets are fully cooked through, about an additional 5 minutes.
  • Heat beans. In a small saucepan heat the beans over medium-low heat.
  • Assemble and serve. Divide rice and beans among serving bowls and top with tomato and fish. Next, spoon the sauce over the top and serve.
Crispy Blackened Salmon with Cilantro Cream Sauce-7.jpg

Other Recipes to Try

If you enjoy this recipe, I recommend checking out some of these:

Crispy Blackened Salmon with Cilantro Cream Sauce

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Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Serves 4

Ingredients:

For the cilantro cream sauce:

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 shallots, diced
  • 1 medium Serrano pepper, seeds removed
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup halved walnuts
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 1 packed cup cilantro leaves
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
  • Kosher salt, as needed

For the crispy blackened steelhead:

  • 4 steelhead trout filets, or salmon
  • Kosher salt, as needed
  • Freshly ground black pepper, as needed
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

For serving:

  • 1 (15.5-ounce) can black beans, rinsed, drained and heated
  • 3 cups cooked white rice
  • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

Instructions:

For the cilantro cream sauce:

  • Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the butter and allow to melt. Add the shallots and Serrano pepper sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about an additional 30 seconds.
  • Add walnuts and white wine, cooking until the wine has reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cilantro, heavy cream, lime juice, coriander and simmer for an additional 15 minutes. Use an immersion blender (or add to a blender) and pulse until the sauce is combined. Season to taste with salt.

For the crispy blackened steelhead:

  • Season filets with salt, pepper, chili powder, paprika and cayenne. Heat a large oven-proof skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil and heat through. Place the steelhead filets, skin-side up in the pan and cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Flip over and continue to cook until the filets are fully cooked through, about an additional 5 minutes.

For serving:

  • In a small saucepan heat the beans over medium-low heat.
  • Divide rice and beans among serving bowls and top with tomato and fish. Spoon the sauce over the top and serve.

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