Updated: Jan 21, 2021
I grew up primarily on Catalina, an island off the coast of Southern California, so eating fish (and seafood in general) is pretty much baked into my genes. Summer days spent on my family's little boat were punctuated by the fresh halibut my dad would spear or the abalone he would shuck off the rock walls of our favorite cove (back when you could still get wild abalone), always using the swim step of the boat as his cleaning station, tossing the guts and fish heads overboard for other fish or sea lions or pelicans to snatch and eat. Fish would get grilled on the little Magma grill on the back deck or eaten raw with some wasabi and soy sauce. Abalone would get pounded thin, breaded, and rolled around some jack cheese and ortega chiles before getting grilled to ooey-gooey deliciousness that I can literally taste as I write this. Looking back on it now, I recognize how incredibly lucky I was to grow up this way, and it absolutely influenced the kind of eater and cook I have become. Food doesn't have to be fussy or complicated to be delicious, and when you've got amazing ingredients sometimes your entire job as a cook is just to not mess it up.
So, I was super excited when my sister-in-law sent us a box of seafood from Know Seafood for Christmas. We've been getting our beef, pork and chicken from ButcherBox for a couple of years now and started getting most of our groceries from Imperfect Foods last year shortly after the the Covid-19 pandemic made a trip to the grocery store feel like a death-defying stunt of some sort. In other words, we are totally on board the grocery delivery/subscription train, especially with these specific companies, whose focus on sustainability is at the heart of their business model. And while nothing compares to fresh seafood, I am absolutely a proponent of quality frozen seafood, which can make it easier and more economical to incorporate seafood into your regular dietary routine.
That first Know Seafood box included a variety of items, including some lovely salmon fillets, a couple of which became Harissa Salmon Burgers....
and some Maine lobster tails, a couple of which I used in this amazing mixed seafood dish with a tomato and garlic vinaigrette....
along with some gorgeous diver scallops, which made an appearance on our New Year' Eve menu in the form of a bright and beautiful Scallop Crudo....
and some jumbo shrimp, which became Tuesday Night Fajitas....
But the real focus of today's post is the Rainbow Trout. I will readily admit that I struggle with some freshwater fish, as I am used to the flavor and texture of fish from the ocean. The freshwater fish I've had in the past has sometimes tasted, well, mealy (for lack of a better word). As my husband pointed out, however, that may have very well been to the fact that the dishes I'd had in the past hadn't been prepared very well. Fair enough. So, I suggested that he take on the task of preparing the Rainbow Trout for Sunday Dinner. The following is what he did with it, and I am happy to say that it was absolutely delightful.
If you're interested in checking out Know Seafood, use this link to get a discount on your first box. And while you're at it, check out ButcherBox and Imperfect Foods as well. Stay home, stay safe, cook real food, and do good. It's that easy.
Grilled Lemon Pepper Trout with Asparagus
4 skin-on trout fillets (we used the Rainbow Trout from our Know Seafood box, but you could actually use any skin-on fish fillet you've got)
2 tablespoons A Bite of Good Lemon Pepper Spice Blend, divided
2 bunches fresh asparagus, trimmed
2 whole lemons
Minced parsley, for serving
Preheat grill to medium-high. Place a large, flat cast iron griddle on the grill. (Note: You can absolutely grill your fish straight on the grill grates. I just like the way a hot cast iron griddle makes for crispy skin and easier flipping.)
While grill and griddle are preheating, rub the fish lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of Lemon Pepper Spice Blend. Do the same with the asparagus. Cut the lemons in half.
Once the griddle is hot, hot, hot, place the fish fillets skin-side down on it. Place the lemons cut-side down straight on the grill grates, and then arrange the asparagus on the grill in an even layer. Do not fuss with the fish or the lemons, but keep an eye on the asparagus, rolling them occasionally to ensure even cooking. Remove the asparagus as soon as they have turned bright green and you've got some grill marks. Flip the fish once it no longer resists being lifted off the griddle. All of this should take less than 10 minutes. The fish will only take another minute or two to finish cooking once you've flipped it since you've cooked it nearly all the way through by leaving it on the skin side long enough to get that crispy skin.
Serve the fish on top of the asparagus, along with some roasted (or grilled) potatoes and some tartar sauce. Make sure everyone grabs a grilled lemon to squeeze over their fish, and enjoy!
Note: This recipe would also work incredibly well over a campfire or camp stove.