Winter steelhead is a mild meat and it nicely takes on the flavors of what it’s cooked with. While this recipe tastes great with a fresh fish, even if you have a whole steelhead in the freezer, it will turn out great. This recipe was a discovery from leftover crab cake filling; now when making crab cakes, I always make enough for stuffing fish the next day. Crab Stuffed Steelhead
1 whole steelhead (6 to 8 pounds)
1 egg ½ cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon dry mustard
Juice from 1 lemon
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
¼ cup chopped green onion or chives
1 cup breadcrumbs
½ to 1 cup shelled crab meat
The steelhead can be simply stuffed whole or the bones can be removed prior to cooking.*
Place fish on a large sheet of aluminum foil. In a medium bowl, mix remaining ingredients. Place stuffing mixture in the cavity of the fish. Seal fish in foil and place on a preheated grill. Grill on medium-
low heat for 20 to 30 minutes or until fish tests done (140 degrees). Or bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees, leaving 10 minutes per inch of thickness, including stuffing. *To remove the bones from an already gutted steelhead prior to cooking, place it on its back. From the inside of the fish, cut the ribs where they attach on to the spine. Sever the ribs on both sides of the backbone, continuing through the pin bones but taking special care not to cut through the skin. Cut through the spine at the base of the head and at the base of tail, and then pull the entire spine out.
Next, carefully fillet the rib bones away from the meat, leaving all the meat you can on the fish. Trim excessive fat and fins off the belly of the fish. To remove the pin bones, find them by running your fingers from head to tail. This will get the bones standing up, which makes them easy to remove with a small set of pliers or special tweezers. You now have a boned steelhead. Editor’s note: For signed copies of Tiffany Haugen’s popular cookbook, Cooking Salmon & Steelhead, send a check for $25 (free S&H) to Haugen Enterprises, P.O. Box 275, Walterville, OR 97489, or visit tiffanyhaugen.com.