Fish & Seafood

Baked Lemon-Garlic Steelhead Trout

Baked Lemon-Garlic Steelhead Trout

Baked Lemon-Garlic Steelhead Trout

After a dozen experiments with toppings for a fish fillet to bake in the oven, I am finally ready to announce the winner. It is butter-lemon-garlic topping. Very simple. Made with butter, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper. That’s it.

But there is a secret. I use clarified butter instead of the good old regular (unsalted) butter. Why? Because clarified butter has that deep, nutty flavor that pairs wonderfully with the taste of a tender fish fillet. Steelhead is my favorite fish to use with this topping. But salmon works just as fine.

Here we go, step by step.

Steelhead Trout Fillet

This is steelhead fillet. With the skin on. 

Baked Lemon-Garlic Steelhead Trout

Steelhead skin side down. It looks just like salmon, doesn’t it?

Steelhead Trout Fillet

We place our fillet on a piece of aluminum foil before baking.

Lemon-Garlic Sauce

And here’s  our luscious topping. Clarified butter, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper. 

Steelhead Trout Fillet with Lemon-Garlic Sauce

We slather our fillet with the topping. And sprinkle some fresh or dried dill weed on top (dried pictured).  

Baked Lemon-Garlic Steelhead Trout

Baked! Beautiful! Look at those juices seeping from the sides of the fish. You can’t beat the clean and bright color of the clarified butter. 

Baked Lemon-Garlic Steelhead Fillet

Serves 4


1 medium fillet  of steelhead trout, with skin on (can substitute salmon fillet)
2 tablespoons of clarified butter (can substitute regular unsalted butter, slightly melted and cooled)
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
Zest of 1/2 medium-size lemon
Juice of 1/2 medium-size lemon
Ground black pepper
Pinch of finely chopped fresh dill or dried dill weed (dried dill is less overpowering)


Preheat the oven to 450F.

Line a large rimless baking sheet with aluminum foil. The baking sheet should be large enough to fit the fillet; if the fillet doesn’t fit, cut it into half crosswise.

Place the fish skin side down on the foil.

In a small bowl combine the clarified butter, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir to mix well. (You will notice how creamy the topping is in the photos. It is because I use clarified butter stored in a cool pantry, not in the refrigerator. Stored in the pantry, it remains soft, so no need to melt it, while in the refrigerator it hardens, so melt it slightly.  The same with regular unsalted butter – melt it slightly).

Spoon the mixture over the fillet and spread to  coat the fish. Sprinkle with dill.

Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 12-15 minutes, or until the flesh is cooked through and flakes easily. If you used salmon fillet, you may need to cook it a little longer since salmon flesh is thicker and not as tender as that of steelhead.

Use a large spatula to lift the fillet off the foil paper, peeling the skin off the fish and leaving the skin on the pan. Transfer the fillet to a serving platter. Serve immediately with any side dish you prefer.

Lemony Fish Bughlama with Vegetables and Herbs

In Azerbaijan, bughlama is the general name given to the dishes in which the main ingredient, fish, meat or poultry, simmers with minimal or no liquid added to it, typically along with fresh vegetables and herbs. In fact, the word bughlama comes from bughlamag, a Turkic word which means to “steam” or “to cook in its own steam.”

This particular recipe is for fish bughlama prepared with beluga sturgeon (European sturgeon). In California I use swordfish instead.

There are many other variations of bughlama with other kinds of fish, such as omul, karp, and ossetra. Bughlama is especially popular in the regions washed by the waters of the Caspian Sea and the Kura River.  They get to make it with the fresh catch of the day. Nush Olsun!

Lemony Fish Bughlama with Vegetables and Herbs (Balig Bughlamasi)

Serves 4

2 pounds beluga (Eurpopean sturgeon) steaks, skinned and cut into medium size pieces (substitute with swordfish steaks or any other fish with firm flesh)
2 medium ripe tomatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped (2 cups)
1 Italian green pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped (substitute with Bell pepper), (1 cup)
1 stalk celery, coarsely chopped (1/2 cup)
½ cup chopped fresh parsley
2 dry bay leaves
1 small lemon, sliced into 4 slices
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
Salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste

Arrange the pieces of fish over on the bottom of a medium saucepan, wide enough to hold the ingredients in separate layers. Season the fish with salt and pepper to taste.

Top the fish with a layer of tomatoes, follow with layers of green peppers, celery and parsley. Toss in the bay leaves and top with the lemon wedges. Dot the top with the butter.

Cover the pan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium to low and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the fish is cooked through. Serve with bread.

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