Oven steaming makes this recipe for Asian Style Oven Steamed Trout super moist, and super flavorful. Easy to make, low in fat and calories, it's a great way to incorporate more fish into your diet
The making of Asian Style Oven Steamed Trout
Asian Style Oven Steamed Trout came to be because I was going to make my recipe for Baked Aromatic Trout. I was going to make that dish because I hated the photo and I wanted a redo. It's such an ugly picture.
I had just gone to Costco for my bi-monthly $500.00 spending spree and had bought a package of trout. Trout is one of the farmed fish that is o.k. to eat; healthy for both you and the environment. I remember as a child fishing on the Kern River and in the Sierras. I hardly ever caught any, but my parents always had a good run. I think the reason they loved fishing so much is, there is so much downtime. Throw your bait into the water, sit back under a tree book in hand, or sit back and look at the view, and wait...wait...wait. And of course, it had to be "quiet" ... you know, the fish won't bite with too much noise so you kids...shhhhhh. A perfect parent vacation.
Us kids would cast our lines into the water, reel them in, cast again, reel again. The fish never had a chance to catch what we were throwing. Tired of that, we would wander off into the woods to make noise and investigate. This was, of course, back in the days when we really didn't think about being abducted. We were taught how to stay as safe as we could be and as long as we were close enough to hear dad whistle, we were good to go.
My parents were pretty lucky at fishing. That was good because the trout were generally our protein when camping. Fresh caught trout, breakfast, and dinner. Gutted, floured, and thrown into the cast iron skillet with melted butter or bacon fat, or a combo of the two, and fried over an open campfire. I know we had other food with, eggs in the morning I'm sure, but I don't really remember the sides, only the fish. The BEST fish ever.
I still love fried trout, simple, to the point. But I also like variety and that's why I first came up with the Baked Aromatic Trout. Now as I sat, looking at my trout, I started to think a different way. In the recipe for Baked Aromatic Trout, the trout is infused with fresh herbs, coated in flour, fried in oil and then finished in the oven. What if???
What if I infused the trout with Asian flavors?
What if, instead of frying it I just baked it?
What if, instead of just baking it I oven steamed it?
What if I told you this was so, so good and flavorful?
Easy, simple, flavorful. But, ugly picture alert. I don't think you can make baked whole trout pretty.
I start with the aromatics, lemongrass, ginger, basil, Kaffir lime leaves (if you don't have or can't find use thin slices of lime), green onions, and some jalapeno. These I stuff into the fish as well as layer them on the top and bottom of the fish. Black bean sauce is then spread on the inside of the fish, then I slash through the skin, and spread that sauce into those slices and rub it all around. Mix some soy sauce, dry sherry, and a little sesame seed oil together and drizzle inside and over the top of the fish. Cover with plastic wrap and put into the refrigerator to marinate for about 30 minutes.
To oven steam the fish, I need a pan that my fish dish will fit into. I used my turkey roasting pan, it's a perfect size. The idea behind steaming, rather than just roasting, is the flavors will have more time and by using steam a more efficient way of infusing the flavor into the flesh. Plus, I thought, the fish would remain nice and moist.
So after I carefully poured the boiling water into the larger pan, and covered it tightly with foil, I stuck it into a 400º oven for about 25 minutes, uncovered it and...
I was right. Moist, flavorful fish. Not pretty, but did I mention flavorful?
LindySez: OK...now I have two, really flavorful recipes online for trout, maybe one day, I'll have the one with the beautiful photo...
Wine Recommendation: This dish goes equally well with a Pinot Noir, which plays nicely with the soy, black beans, and sesame, OR an off-dry (not sweet) Gewurztraminer or Riesling, or even a Pinot Grigio, where the citrus and floral components of the wine will help cut the richness and enhance the lemongrass and lime flavors.
Asian Style Oven Steamed Trout
- 2 whole trout head removed if desired**
- 2- inch piece of fresh ginger thinly sliced (no need to peel)
- 3 stalks green onion sliced
- 1 large jalapeno sliced (seeds in or out, your choice)
- 1 lemongrass stalk outer stalk removed, tender middle thinly sliced
- 6 - 8 basil leaves torn into large pieces (if you can get Thai basil, you could use more leaves without tearing them, but they are hard to find for most)
- 4 - 6 Kaffir lime leaves sliced (Kaffir lime leaves are slightly citric but have a soapy herbal flavor to them if you can't find these, use thinly sliced lime, it's not the same, but, well...it's still good flavor
- 3 tablespoons black bean sauce or as needed
- 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon dry sherry
- ½ teaspoon sesame seed oil
- Open the fish and spread some black bean sauce on both sides. Slash the skin to the bone on both sides with a sharp knife at 2-inch intervals, rub more of the black bean sauce over the fish, pushing it into the slashes. Split half the aromatics between each of the fishes cavity, placing the ginger on the flesh, then topping it with each of the thinly sliced green onion, lemongrass, jalapenos, basil, and kaffir. Toss half of the remaining aromatics into the baking dish, place the fish on top. Mix the soy, sherry, and sesame seed oil together, drizzle half inside the cavities of the fish, pour the rest over. Top with remaining aromatics; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Heat the oven to 400°F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Remove the plastic wrap from the fish and place the pan in a roasting pan large enough and deep enough to hold it. Carefully pour the boiling water around the fish pan, about halfway up, creating a water bath. Cover the pan tightly with foil and transfer to the preheated oven. Cook, about 25 minutes, or until the fish is cooked through. Remove the aromatics. Using two spoons, remove the skin, then remove the filet from the bone. Serve the fish with a bit of the "drippings" sauce over it.