Steelhead Trout with Creamy Barley & Herb Salad

Steelhead and rainbow trout are the same species, but steelhead are anadromous, meaning that, like salmon, they migrate from the ocean to freshwater to spawn. Salmon and arctic char are a good substitute if you have trouble finding steelhead. The creamy barley the fish is served with has a texture similar to risotto, and toasting the grains before cooking gives the dish a nutty flavor. A knob of fresh horseradish is worth seeking out for this; it has a more nuanced flavor than jarred. Serve this healthy fish recipe with a glass of chenin blanc for an elegant and hearty dinner.

Prep Time:
45 mins
Additional Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
1 hr 15 mins
4 servings


  • 2 tablespoons chopped leek plus 2/3 cup finely diced leek top, divided

  • 1 tablespoon chopped carrot plus 1/2 cup finely diced, divided

  • 1 tablespoon chopped celery

  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed, divided

  • 1 fresh parsley stem plus 1/2 cup parsley leaves, divided

  • bay leaf plus 1 whole bay leaf, divided

  • teaspoon whole peppercorns

  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

  • 1 cup pearl barley

  • 4 cups water

  • 4 cups unsalted chicken broth

  • ½ lemon

  • ½ cinnamon stick

  • ½ cup finely diced peeled turnip

  • 2 tablespoons butter, divided

  • 2 tablespoons sliced fresh chives plus 1 cup 1 1/2-inch pieces

  • 2 tablespoons grated peeled fresh horseradish

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

  • 4 (5 ounce) skinned steelhead trout fillets

  • 1 ½ teaspoons cracked pepper

  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme

  • 2 tablespoons fresh tarragon leaves

  • 1 tablespoon fresh chervil leaves


  1. Place chopped leek, chopped carrot, celery, 1 garlic clove, parsley stem, 1/8 bay leaf and peppercorns on a double layer of cheesecloth. Bundle up and tie with kitchen string to create a sachet. Gently smash the sachet to release some of the aromas. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add barley and cook, stirring, until toasted, 1 to 3 minutes. Add water and the sachet. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the water is mostly absorbed and the barley is tender and creamy, 35 to 40 minutes. Discard the sachet.

  2. Meanwhile, combine broth, lemon, cinnamon stick and the remaining whole bay leaf in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a lively simmer and cook until reduced to 2 1/2 cups, 20 to 25 minutes. Strain (discard solids). Cover to keep warm.

  3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet. Add turnip and the remaining diced leek top and carrot; cook, stirring, until just tender, about 1 minute. Stir the vegetables into the barley along with 1 tablespoon butter, sliced chives, horseradish and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cover to keep warm. Wipe out the skillet.

  4. Sprinkle trout with cracked pepper and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons oil in the skillet over medium-low heat. Add the trout and cook for 8 minutes. Turn the trout and add the remaining 1 tablespoon butter, 1 garlic clove and thyme. Cook, basting once or twice with the butter mixture, until the fish flakes with a fork, about 6 minutes more.

  5. To serve, combine the remaining parsley leaves, chive pieces, tarragon and chervil in a small bowl. Divide the barley among 4 bowls. Top each with a piece of trout and some of the herbs. Pour 2/3 cup of the warm broth around the barley. Sprinkle with more herbs and drizzle with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil.


Equipment: Cheesecloth, kitchen string

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

646 Calories
33g Fat
48g Carbs
39g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 4
Serving Size 4 oz. fish, 1 cup barley, 2/3 cup broth and 1/2 cup herbs
Calories 646
% Daily Value *
Total Carbohydrate 48g 18%
Dietary Fiber 10g 35%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 39g 77%
Total Fat 33g 43%
Saturated Fat 8g 39%
Cholesterol 96mg 32%
Vitamin A 4415IU 88%
Vitamin C 27mg 30%
Folate 73mcg 18%
Sodium 752mg 33%
Calcium 137mg 11%
Iron 5mg 26%
Magnesium 95mg 23%
Potassium 1020mg 22%

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

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