Steelhead Trout with Fennel and Cara Cara Oranges

Ingredients:

1 small bulb fennel, very thinly sliced
1 small onion or shallot, thinly sliced
1 Cara Cara orange, thinly sliced
1 lb steelhead trout filets
1/4 teaspoon fennel pollen
salt
freshly ground pepper
fennel fronds

Preheat oven to 325. Lightly oil a 1 1/2-2 quart baking dish (I used a 8×8 inch baking dish). Toss together the fennel, onion/shallot and orange slices on the bottom of the dish. Top with the trout.

Rub the trout with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with fennel pollen, salt pepper, and fronds. Bake for 30 minutes or until cooked through and flaky.

My thoughts:
Transition into spring with this delicious trout dish. Fennel is mostly a fall and winter vegetable but it feels springy and fresh to me. Cara Cara oranges are some of my favorites (and not just becuase they are pink!) and they come into their peak at the end of winter. The flavors really seep into the fish in an amazing way.

Steelhead trout is a wonderful, sustainable alternative to salmon. Despite being from the same family as rainbow trout, it looks very similar, has a familiar meaty texture and is just as easy to cook as salmon. It is a bit lighter and softer in texture and not quite as oily thanks to a lower fat content. I haven’t found many recipes for it but I would think that you could sub it in most salmon recipes. Aldi has it pretty frequently for a good price.

Take care to really thinly slice the fennel, I had a few thicker pieces and they werent’ quite tender when the fish was completed. I like using fennel pollen to kick the fennel flavor up a bit but it can be left out (or sub fennel seeds) if you don’t have any on hand.

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