Steelhead Salad Sandwich
Cooking fish intimidates many people. Or is it just me? All right, fine. Just me. I worry the slab of fish will be undercooked, which is gross. Or overdone, which is like eating rubbery ingots. Even if fish turns out just right, I worry it’s not just right enough. Preparing fish is high stakes cookery.
Especially fish you’ve gone out and caught yourself. If you char that meal it’s not like you can just thaw another chicken breast from the Costco pack and start over. Oh, dear me, I’ve burned the steelhead. Let me just run down to the remote canyon after tying some flies and get a lucky drift over a creature that just swam hundreds of miles on the return leg of an epic migration. Be right back.
Even if you do nail it when baking or broiling or grilling or whatever-ing a steelhead, you sometimes end up with leftovers galore. Somehow fish leftovers don’t do it for me. Now you’ve got wayward bones to deal with and the leftover asparagus doesn’t look appealing either.
My first steelhead coach Tom Farnum solved both my anxiety of cooking whole fish and the problem of leftovers by introducing me to the idea of steelhead sandwiches. It was a revelation.
There’s a certain reverence surrounding steelhead. If not, there should be. So I imagine the lemons need to be sliced just so for a steelhead dinner, with the good silver on the table and napkins folded into exotic bird shapes. Tuna sandwich isn’t the image that springs to mind when I think of eating a big beautiful fish caught on a fly rod.
It’s reaaaaally good, though. Try it. It’s like a super-tuna sandwich. Scrape those leftovers into a bowl and have at it for lunch tomorrow. If you really blew it on the fish preparation, scrape the whole thing into a much larger bowl and have at it for lunch all next week.
For this recipe you will just need your favorite recipe for tuna salad, but use steelhead instead. Pretty easy. My secret ingredient: red bell pepper diced super fine. Adds some crunch. So good.
So there’s the Gearboat Chronicles culinary tip for the week: Don’t worry about cooking fish, because you can just disguise it with mayonnaise and hide it between some lightly toasted sourdough bread for a quick and elegant sandwich.