A Classic Pacific Northwest Plate: Seared Trout with Pinot Grigio Cream Sauce

Originally perfected during my years in the Pacific Northwest, this recipe has become a favorite in our household and is applicable for any trout, steelhead or salmon. The dish requires little work, just patience for a great-tasting cream sauce.

(Taking it back to old school, Sprague Lake, Wash., fall 2013, a limit of rainbows within first hour. Those were the days.  Photo credit: Dara Hennessy)


Makes 2 servings.

2 cups Pinot Grigio wine
1 tablespoon freshly minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 to 2 teaspoons of lemon juice (more if desired)
1 pint heavy whipping cream
1 cup jasmine rice
2 (6-ounce) fillets
Cayenne pepper (optional)
4 tablespoons of capers (drained and added at very end)


To prepare sauce: In medium pot, combine wine, garlic, salt, black pepper and white pepper. Simmer over medium heat until reduced by half. Add cream and lemon juice. Simmer for 1 hour or until reduced by half or two-thirds. (Note: To test for proper cream sauce texture, dip spoon into sauce. If sauce coats spoon when withdrawn, sauce is ready.)

To prepare rice: In small pot with lid, mix jasmine rice with 1 3/8 cups cold water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low. Cover. Simmer for seven minutes. Turn off heat. (Don’t remove lid.) Let rice finish by steaming.

To cook trout: Heat oven to 450 degrees. Fillet or cut trout into 6-ounce pieces. Lightly salt and pepper flesh. Add cayenne for extra spice. In large skillet, heat thin layer of vegetable oil to 350 degrees over medium-high heat. Place fillets in skillet, presentation-side down. Sear until golden brown. Flip fillets. Place skillet in oven. Bake for 5 minutes. (Note: When oils and fats of fish start to bubble white atop flesh, fish has reached a medium to medium-well cook. Continue baking for well-done or remove depending on preference. Cooking times may vary, depending on cut and weight of fillet.)

To finish and serve: Add 4 tablespoons capers (drained) to sauce. Add more lemon juice if you desire extra zing. Mix sauce thoroughly. Place trout atop a scoop of rice. Ladle sauce over fish and rice.