The 3 Best Steelhead Recipes for Deschutes River Anglers

Steelhead Trout is prized by gourmands for its robust taste and firm, juicy texture. With its silvery skin and red flesh, steelhead is often compared to salmon in terms of flavor and actually hails from the same family: Salmonidae. Steelhead trout is one of the healthiest types of seafood that you can eat—containing a high amount of lean protein, vitamins, minerals and omega-3 fatty acids while containing a low level of contaminants like mercury, pesticides, dioxin and polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs.

Those who have experienced fresh caught steelhead pulled straight from the fast, cold waters of the Deschutes River will tell you that it is an experience not to be missed. Here are three exceptional recipes for preparing steelhead so that its flavor and texture may be appreciated while retaining its full nutritional benefits.

1. Broiled Steelhead Trout with Rosemary, Lemon and Garlic

Try combining aromatic herbs with zesty lemon in this dish that pairs well with rustic wild rice or orzo. This recipe from recommends a quick broil followed by baking, although in the comments many readers recommended baking first and then broiling. Either way, this recipe is a relatively easy way to prepare Steelhead with minimal preparation and mess.

Ingredients include:

  • 1 lb steelhead fillet, with or without skin
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped fine
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 lemon, zest of
  • 1/2 lemon, juice of
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus

2. Pan Seared Steelhead with Jalapeño Blueberry Sauce

Many foodies will tell you that over-cooking good fish is the surest way to loose flavor and ruin texture. Pan searing is considered an ideal way to prepare high-grade, fresh fish in a way to seal in flavor and moisture while infusing the meat with whatever flavors you chose to cook with. In this intriguing recipe from Wide Open Spaces the earthy spice of jalapenos and the sweet, tart flavor notes of blueberries bring out the natural sweetness of the Steelhead. One tip for ensuring that you end up with a crisp, juicy filet instead of a soggy one is to thoroughly pat down the filets before adding them to the pan – and making sure the oil is heated to the point where the filets will sizzle but not immediately burn.

3. Grilled: Steelhead Fish Tacos

There are few more fun and perfect ways to prepare a fresh piece of fish than over a barbecue. Grilling requires some caution so as not to undercook or overcook the fish, but also imparts a smoky flavor that can open up the flavor of fresh fish in a way no other cooking method can. A gas grill will also give you a great sear and back through and a cedar plank may be used to further infuse the meat with a sweet, savory quality.

In this outdoorsman-friendly recipe from Nevada Foodies the fish is prepared with a spicy southwest dry rub using:

  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • cumin to taste
  • 2 garlic cloves chopped
  • ¼ cup melted butter

There is also a lemon and herb dry rub option with:

  • 2 tablespoons Old Bay Lemon & Herb
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ cup melted butter

Both call for wrapping the dry rub-prepared filets in tinfoil and grilling before wrapping in a soft flour tortilla and topping with cabbage, cheese and avocado.

Print These Steelhead Recipes

Need a visual? Click here to see the slideshow version of these recipes; perfect for printing!

Imperial River Company offers access to year-round fishing on the Deschutes River. Guided fishing and rafting tours provide guests with the opportunity to enjoy the beauty and majesty—in addition to the excellent Steelhead fishing – of this pristine jewel of Central Oregon. Because of its highly technical nature, guided tours help guests safely navigate the river’s fast waters and find the best spots to drift, nature-watch, and drop a line. You may also want to stop by our restaurant in Maupin to taste our chef's interpretation of Deschutes River cuisine.

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