Sunday, May 27, 2012

Grilled Steelhead Trout, Sautéed Green Beans and Too Much Ketchup

Memorial Day weekend. We're going to a dinner/picnic tomorrow with my husband's colleagues, so I had to get my grilling in yesterday and today. Yesterday I made ribs but son had the camera while conducting some lengthy experiment with stop-action photography and Legos, so I didn't document it. Some other time! Today was my weekly trip to the grocery store, where I found that between last weekend and this weekend they had rearranged about 70% of the items in the store. Can I just take a moment to say that this periodical rearrangement of the merchandise kind of sucks? I finally get to know where everything I need happens to be, then they change it all. *sigh*

Anyway, when I shop on Sundays there's usually one particular employee I look for behind the meat and fish counter. He's not a butcher, but he is the guy who orders the fish. I suppose that would make him a fishmonger, but I'm not sure he's that much of an expert. Anyway, he knows me well enough to tell me what's fresh and what is maybe not such a great idea. I was looking at some cod, thinking I might do some fish and chips, but he saw me and shook his head. The freshest thing he had were sides of Steelhead Trout. Since fish is insanely expensive in Oklahoma (with the possible exception of catfish, but who really wants to eat a bottom feeder so primitive it doesn't really have scales?), I swallowed hard and bought a $30 side, with skin on. I figured I could get two meals out of it. It was beautiful though--here it is all cut up and ready to grill:
After surfing around for a recipe, I found this one here, from a site called Home Ec 101. The site recommends baking the trout in foil with the marinade, but I opted to grill. The marinade/sauce did look tasty though, so I decided to use it.

Honey Garlic Glaze
1/4 C butter, melted
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar

Whisk all the ingredients into the melted butter. Voilà, you've got a glaze.

So, I fire up the grill. We've got a propane grill. Yes, I know charcoal or wood grills make the food taste better, but a propane grill is so convenient that I can use it several times a week in the summer without dealing with building fires or dealing with charcoal ashes. So there. Now, there's a trick or two to grilling fish. Ever tried to grill fish and end up with a shredded mess when you try to turn the fish over and half of it sticks to the grill? Raise your hand if it's ever happened to you. Come on, be honest. ...I thought so. It finally dawned on me after watching cooking shows, primarily Alton Brown's Good Eats, that there's a right way and a wrong way. Right way--it helps if you use a relatively oily fish that's not insanely delicate. Tuna, salmon, swordfish, some trouts, etc. work pretty well. Get the grill good and hot by preheating it for a while. Scrub down the grill, and rub with oil. Then put your fish, skin side up, on the grill.
Now resist the urge to start poking at it and seeing if it sticks. If you try to turn them right away, they likely will stick at this point. Let them cook a good four or five minutes at least (a bit more wouldn't hurt), because then the fish touching the grill will cook enough to release more easily. I also close the lid while I'm waiting to help them cook a bit, as these were pretty thick pieces of fish. Ok, *now* turn them over and brush them with glaze.
See those lovely grill marks? Now you can continue to cook the fish and it doesn't matter if you get the skin charred. The skin will also release pretty easily from the grill once you get it cooked a bit. How long do you cook the fish? It depends entirely upon the kind of fish and how thick it is. For these pieces, which were about 1 1/2" thick, the total cooking time was probably about 18 minutes over a hot but not infernal fire. I like my fish just cooked--in other words cooked more or less all the way through, but not dry. The inside of mine was still a bit rosy and moist, rather than pale pink and dry. The more you keep the grill closed the less time you will need, but I left it open a fair amount for the last five minutes while I kept basting with the glaze. 

Once you're done, you end up with something that looks like this:

Are you going to want a side dish with that? I am probably the world's least imaginative person with vegetables. I blame the distinct lack of fresh vegetables in my life while growing up (see previous post "How I learned to cook"). It's easier than blaming myself. Anyway, rather than just steaming some green beans, I decided to get very marginally creative. There were some lovely locally grown organic spring onions at the local foods market (Native Roots Market--a very cool place) and some decent looking beans at the local grocery store. The spring onions basically looked like overgrown green onions--with the white part beginning to make a bulb. I sliced up one of the larger spring onions, prepared the green beans, then threw it all in a pan with some butter, about one tablespoon or so.
See that lovely cropping I did? That's to avoid showing you
how much my stovetop needs cleaning.
I sautéed the whole thing until the onions were beginning to brown and the beans were crisp/tender. Tossed a bit of salt into it and stirred it in. The final product looked something like this:
Nothing to write home about, but it was better than steamed.

Now the last bit of today's blog is at the request of my children. Since they have been seeing me taking pictures of food for the last month, they each insisted that I take a picture of their plates. Daughter went first:

Notice the large dollop of ketchup to your left. She has learned to do this by imitating her brother. Speaking of her brother, here's his plate:
See that pile of red goo on his plate? That's where he mashed up the trout and mixed the whole thing with ketchup. Do you see what I have to put up with??


  1. Lincoln would be quite happy heating ketchup as a main dish. He even dips Fritos in it.

  2. And, on a more important note, your page looks great and your writing even keeps me, the oh-geez-I-have-to-cook cook, interested and entertained. Not a small feat, when it comes to me and the kitchen.