Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Steelhead Trout with Braised Red Cabbage & Roasted Potatoes

To tell you the truth, this dish actually turned out better than I had expected. It is so colorful, I almost think it looks too good to eat! I had wanted to do a braised red cabbage side dish for a while now but never found the right protein to go with it. Fall and winter is the season for red cabbage and after seeing steelhead trout on sale at my local grocery store, I thought this would be the best time to execute on my plan.

Steelhead trout is actually one and the same as a rainbow trout. The only difference is, steelheads spend part of its lifespan out in the sea (migrating to freshwater to spawn) while rainbows are generally "land-locked," living exclusively in freshwater lakes. There are some subtle physical differences but the most glaring one is the orange-red meat that makes it look so similar to salmon on the dinner table. Due to its life out in the seas, steelheads are stronger in flavor than rainbows but less oily than salmon. Here, the steelhead trout is simply seasoned with salt and pepper and sautéed.

As for the red cabbage, I prefer braising than any other cooking method. Some recipes call for using bacon or chicken stock as part of the braising liquid in order to add flavors to the cabbage but here, I'm trying to keep it strictly vegetarian and healthy, braising it with just a combination of water, rice wine vinegar, sugar and salt, resulting in a strong sweet-sour taste that I find goes very well with the trout. Start off by shredding and cutting the red cabbage into strips. Here, I am only using half a head of the cabbage. After sautéeing some onions and garlic in a wok, I add about 1 cup of water, 1/2 cup of rice wine vinegar and 1/4 cup sugar. Mix the cabbage properly, making sure it is immersed in the liquid and turn the heat down to a simmer. Let the vegetable simmer in the braising liquid for about 15-20 minutes and add more liquid as you go along. Keep adding a combination of water, vinegar and sugar until the cabbage becomes soft and is infused with the sweet-sour flavor. That should take a total of 60-75 minutes of braising.
As for the roasted potatoes, I cut them into medium cubes, season with olive oil, chopped rosemary, garlic and onion powder and salt and pepper. Toss them into the oven at 400°F for approximately 45 minutes, mixing them up every 20 minutes so that one side doesn't get darker than the others. And there you have it, all three components of this dish. Enjoy!

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