Sautéed Trout Fillets with a Pumpkin Seed Crust

In accordance with Colorado state law, wild trout cannot be served at a commercial establishment, which is why Smith Fork Ranch makes this signature dish with top-quality farmed ruby trout.


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  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4

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  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons and chilled
  • 1/4 pound shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded and caps quartered
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup shelled raw pumpkin seeds, finely chopped
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • Four 6-ounce trout fillets, with skin
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium tomato, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro leaves
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice

How to make this recipe

  1. In a medium skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the garlic and cook over moderately high heat until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the wine and boil until reduced by half, about 1 minute. Add the chicken stock and boil until reduced by half again, about 1 minute. Remove the skillet from the heat and whisk in the cold butter, 1 tablespoon at a time.

  2. In another medium skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of the oil. Add the shiitake caps and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in the sesame seeds and cook, stirring frequently, until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Season the shiitake with salt and pepper and remove the skillet from the heat.

  3. On a plate, toss the pumpkin seeds with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and the cayenne. Press the boned side of the trout fillets into the pumpkin seeds to coat.

  4. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the trout fillets, crusted side down, and cook over moderately high heat until browned, about 2 minutes. Turn the fillets and cook until the fish is just white throughout and the skin is crisp, about 3 minutes. Transfer the fillets to plates.

  5. Add the scallions, tomato, cilantro and lime juice to the sauce and rewarm over moderately high heat, stirring; do not let it boil. Spoon the sautéed shiitake and the sauce over the trout and serve.

Suggested Pairing

A light-bodied Italian Pinot Grigio will match the acidity of the tomatoes and lime juice in this recipe without overwhelming the trout.

Photo © Frances Janisch Published August 2004

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