Rainbow Trout with Brown Butter and Salt-Roasted Beets

While most recipes simply call for boiling or roasting beets, the salt-roasting method here is chef Ashley Christensen's favorite. It requires a lot of salt—enough to fully bury the beets—but the end results are juicy, perfectly seasoned and popping with flavor. If you don't have enough salt on-hand, this dish will still be delicious with standard roasted beets. Slideshow:  More Great Fish Recipes 

Rainbow Trout with Brown Butter and Salt-Roasted Beets
Photo: © Tara Fisher
Active Time:
40 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 30 mins


  • 8 small beets with their greens (about 3 pounds)

  • 3 pounds kosher salt (about 8 cups)

  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice

  • 1/4 teaspoon finely grated orange zest

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • Sea salt

  • Freshly ground pepper

  • Four 6-ounce rainbow trout fillets, pin bones removed and skin scored on the diagonal at 1-inch intervals

  • 1/4 cup canola oil

  • 4 thyme sprigs

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

  • 4 tablespoons crème fraîche


  1. Preheat the oven to 375º. Cut off the beet greens. Discard the stems and tear the leaves. In a baking dish, arrange the beets in a single layer and cover with the kosher salt. Roast for 1 hour, until tender; let cool slightly, then peel and quarter.

  2. In a bowl, toss the beets with the orange juice, zest and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Season with sea salt and pepper.

  3. Season the trout with salt and pepper. In a cast-iron skillet, working in 2 batches, heat 2 tablespoons of the canola oil until it shimmers. Cook half of the fillets skin side down over moderately high heat until golden, 3 minutes. Add half of the thyme and cook until the skin is crispy. Add half of the butter and turn the fillets; cook over moderate heat, basting, until just cooked through, 2 minutes longer; transfer to a plate. Discard the thyme.

  4. Wipe out the skillet. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the beet greens and cook, tossing, until just wilted, 2 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice and season with sea salt and pepper.

  5. Serve the trout with the roasted beets and greens, spooning a tablespoon of crème fraîche on each plate.

Make Ahead

The whole roasted beets can be refrigerated for up to 2 days; rewarm and peel before proceeding.

Suggested Pairing

Round, fragrant Chenin Blanc.

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