I do an awful lot of salmon and trout fishing, and have so many salmon recipes and trout recipes that I’ve separated them out on this page.
The default species for these recipes are king salmon and for trout recipes it’s rainbow trout, or steelhead, but in most cases these dishes will work just fine with all sorts of other salmonids, ranging from Arctic char to sockeye salmon and kokanee, other trout, pinks, silvers — yes, even farmed, store-bought Atlantic salmon or rainbows.
Keep in mind that the designations below are suggestions. I’ve made trout recipes with salmon and salmon recipes with trout.
In general, you will be dealing with salmon fillets. I prefer skin-on fillets because I like the crispy skin, but any such recipe will work perfectly well with skinless salmon fillets, too.
The bigger the fish, the more likely you’ll use a piece of salmon and not the whole fillet or side, or even the whole fish. Smaller salmon, like kokanee and pinks, interchange perfectly with trout. Similarly, very large lake trout and steelhead or char can sub in perfectly for salmon.
A word on fresh salmon vs. frozen salmon (or trout). Fresh is better if you catch it yourself of have access to freshly caught fish. Fresh salmon will taste better, be less fishy and won’t stink up your kitchen. But if you have to buy salmon from a market, buy frozen — unless you can be assured that the fish is pristine.
Prefrozen salmon will taste cleaner than “fresh frozen,” which is market-speak for thawed. Oh, and thaw your fish this way: Remove from any packaging and wrap in paper towels. Put in the fridge to thaw over a day or so. Every so often, replace the paper towels if they get damp. This will go a long way toward stinkless salmon.
Some baseline techniques you will find useful as you cook your salmon and trout. Many of these apply to so many different kinds of seafood it’s worth compiling them here.
A Simple Fried Fish Sandwich
Who doesn’t love a fish sandwich? I used Pacific rockfish for this, but trout works great, too.
Mastering the art of broiling a thin fillet like a trout. Garnish with something tart and some herbs.
Salmon or trout stock can be wonderful, but it is ephemeral. Make it, enjoy it, move on. I don’t store this stock more than a week.
Simple Grilled Whole Fish
Grilling a whole fish is an important skill to know. It requires a clean, hot grill, some oil, and lots of finesse.
How to Butterfly a Fish
This is how I butterfly and debone small fish like trout and small bass. You can either prep them for the pan, or for stuffing.
How to Cook Kokanee
Kokanee are small, landlocked sockeye salmon. Like a salmon the size of a trout. Here’s how best to cook them.
How to Smoke Salmon
My method for smoking salmon is very simple, but I’ve perfected it over many years. It’s a wet-brine with a maple glaze, although I prefer Alaskan birch syrup when I can get it.
Smoked Salmon Candy
This method of smoking salmon uses a dry cure with lots of brown sugar. You also glaze the strips of salmon with maple syrup to make this some of the best road food you’ll ever eat.
Smoked Trout or Kokanee
Here is how I smoke whole, small trout. It’s a bit different from smoking large lakers or salmon.
Smoked Lake Trout
Lake trout are similar to salmon, and you can use the recipe above for your lakers, but I like this recipe better. It reflects the cold, Northern lakes these fish swim in.
I make these when I bring home salmon; I use meat scraped from the carcasses to make these patties, but you can use any salmon, trout or char.
These are fish cakes made specifically for trout: herbs and a bit of mustard and Worcestershire make them unique.
Cucumber Sauce for Salmon
An elegant salmon recipe that isn’t too hard to make. It’s a great dish for a nice Sunday dinner or date night.
Butter Poached Salmon
Butter poached salmon with a simple sauce of sour cream, mixed with dill and horseradish.
Seared Salmon with Avocado Salsa
Simple seared salmon (skin on or off), served with an avocado salsa that’s basically a deconstructed guacamole.
Grilled Salmon Salad
Salmon salad made from the racks of salmon or large trout that are grilled. Once you get a nice crispy crust, you pick all the meat off the bones. Best salmon salad you’ve ever eaten.
Smoked Salmon Deviled Eggs
Smoked salmon, mixed into a rich, spicy deviled egg? Yes, please.
Smoked Salmon Pasta
Smoked salmon, flaked out and served with a hearty, whole wheat pasta.
Think of this as a rough pate, or a chunky dip. A great party appetizer.
The key here is the combination of both smoked and freshly poached salmon or trout. A great, easy appetizer for a party… or for watching the game.
Salmon, steelhead or other trout made into a lovely light Pacific Northwest-style chowder.
Icelandic Salmon Soup
A Nordic take on salmon chowder, this is surprisingly light. Works well with trout, too.
Grilled Salmon Collar with Ponzu Sauce
Meaty, rich and fun to eat, salmon collars are my favorite part of the fish, and they are made for grilling. Marinate it, grill it, then eat with your fingers. Super fun!
A fancy, classy salmon tartare: Horseradish, dill and a little roasted pumpkinseed oil give it a Northern European flair.
Salmon Head Soup
This is what you do when you have a whole salmon head. There is a lot of meat on one, and by gently stewing it and the picking off all that meat, you get a rich salmon broth and plenty of salmon bits for the soup. Don’t worry, no eyeballs in this recipe…
Smoked Trout Dip
An ode to the Great Lakes, smoked trout dip is great on crackers, toast or as a sandwich filling.
Fried Trout with Peas
Boneless, butterflied trout dusted in flour and served with peas and a lemon-butter sauce.
Grilled Trout or Kokanee
Grilled whole trout are a wonderfully easy summertime meal. Even better when you catch them and cook them over a campfire!
Trout with Orange-Saffron Sauce
Seared trout with a bright, flavorful orange-saffron sauce. Serve it with simple greens, like spinach.
Trout with Morels
A springtime classic. You can use any mushrooms you want, though.
How to Make Trout Caviar
If life gives you a salmon, trout or steelhead with roe, use this technique to make your own caviar. It’s easy, and will last in the fridge for a week or so.