My dear friend Hunt Conrad is the author of the fishing column in the Healdsburg Tribune. Part information, part soapbox, Hunt’s column chronicles his activities as an avid angler, not only here in Sonoma County, but up and down the West Coast. Early spring is the tail end of steelhead season, and Hunt can be counted on for fresh catch from the Russian River. There is nothing like the taste and texture of fish caught just hours before. My job is to come up with a recipe to match the freshness of the fish.
Steelhead are trout that act like salmon. Born in small streams, they migrate to the sea for most of their adult life, then return to the streams to spawn. Steelhead is often mistaken for salmon because of its beautiful peach-colored flesh. Ask your fishmonger to debone the fish for you. If you can’t find steelhead, feel free to substitute wild salmon for this recipe. Chardonnay’s natural acidity cuts through the richness of the mustard cream sauce beautifully here.
- Yield: 6 Servings
- Six 4 oz (115 g) steelhead or salmon fillets
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp freshly ground pepper
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- ½ cup (60 ml) dry white wine
- 2 leeks, white parts only, finely chopped
- ¼ cup (60 ml) heavy double cream
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- Liberally season the fish on both sides with salt and pepper. In a large frying pan, melt the butter over medium heat until it is foaming. Add the fish and sauté for 2 minutes on each side.
- Transfer to a warm plate. Reduce heat to medium-low, add the wine and leeks, and sauté until the leeks are soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cream and mustard.
- Add the fish to the pan, baste with the sauce, cover, and cook over medium-low heat until still translucent in the center, about 5 minutes. The fish will continue to cook through off heat. Serve topped with sauce.