Steelhead Trout with Fiddleheads and Ramps

You know what I get really geeky excited about? Ingredients that are only available seasonally! 

Living in California, I’m fortunate in that I can eat a lot of fruits and vegetables year-round. My Whole Foods Market in San Francisco probably looks a whole lot different than the NYC Whole Foods in February.

But when it comes to foods that I can only eat once a year for a few months, I’m extremely grateful for that opportunity. Every time.

This week, fiddleheads and ramps are officially in season! Fiddleheads are ferns that grow wild in California. They’re tasty. Some compare them to asparagus, but I wouldn’t really say the texture or flavor are too similar. You’ll just have to try them for yourself to find out! They are definitely their own unique thing. 

Do note that you’re not supposed to eat fiddleheads raw because they can cause some stomach upset. They’re also WILD, so they actually need to be cleaned really well too. 

As for the ramps, a.k.a. wild leeks, they’re very similar to green onions in flavor, but leafier, and a lot more fun to cook with. Yum.

So this week, I've prepared steelhead trout with fiddleheads and ramps. And you want to know what my favorite part about this recipe is, besides it just being extremely healthy? That someone actually went out into the forest to forage all of these wild ingredients for me. I love it! Spring is such a great time of year.

Steelhead Trout with Fiddleheads and Ramps

Time: 45 Minutes
Serves 4


8oz fiddlehead ferns, washed thoroughly
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (24 oz) steelhead trout fillet
2 bunches ramps, about ½ lb, trimmed
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
3 tbsp melted butter
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp capers
2 tbsp fresh rosemary, coarsely chopped
Juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
¼ cup dry white wine
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Lemon Rice
2 tbsp butter
2 large shallots, thinly sliced
1 cup long grain rice
2 cups chicken broth
Juice and zest of ½ lemon
Lemon pepper, to taste
2 tbsp parsley, chopped

Preheat broiler.

Bring a medium pot of boiling salted water to a boil. Add fiddleheads and blanch for 2 minutes. Drain immediately and add to a large bowl of ice water to cool. Drain again and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, heat butter over medium-high heat. Add shallots, and cook until soft, about 5-6 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add broth, lemon juice, zest, and salt and pepper, to taste. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer for 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender. Fluff rice with a fork, stirring in lemon pepper and parsley. Set aside and keep warm.

Meanwhile, season trout with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Add steelhead, skin-side down, to the center of a foil-lined baking sheet. On a second foil-lined baking sheet, add ramps and coat with olive oil and salt to taste.

In a small bowl, combine melted butter with garlic, capers, rosemary, lemon juice, zest, and white wine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour half of the lemon mixture over the steelhead.

In another mixing bowl, add blanched fiddleheads. Combine with remaining lemon mixture. Scatter fiddleheads around the fish.

Broil trout in the top third of the oven and the ramps on a lower rack for 5 minutes. Transfer trout to the lower rack and bake at 325F for 10 more minutes, until the fish is cooked through and the ramps are lightly browned and crisp.    

Portion trout into four even fillets and divide between plates with fiddleheads and ramps. Serve with lemon rice. 

If you like fish as much as I do, you should definitely check out my recipes for Hoisin Glazed Salmon with Shiitake Mushrooms Salmon in Galangal-Tomato Compote, and Salmon with Beurre Blanc and Sautéed Greens!