Archive | March 22nd, 2013

Ask a Foodie: Is Steelhead Trout a Type of Salmon?

Ask a Foodie: Is Steelhead Trout a Type of Salmon?

Q. What is steelhead trout? I’ve asked this question from a number of people and have been told that steelhead trout is salmon, or salmon at a young age, or — another species altogether.  — L.F.

Steelhead trout's pink flesh resembles salmon, but it is a different fish.

Steelhead trout’s pink flesh resembles salmon, but it is a different fish.

A. We checked the federal game and fish website, as well as the NOAA Fisheries Office of Protected Resources. The bottom line is steelhead is a trout, as one would guess from its name.  And steelhead trout are a unique species.

However, the species (Oncorhynchus myskiss) belongs to the same family (Salmonidae) as do all salmon, other trout and chars. So, if someone says the fish is a salmon, that is not correct, but if they say it is from the family Salmonidae, they are correct. Just a little confusing.

Steelhead trout do bear some similarities to some Pacific salmon. According to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, steelhead are born in freshwater streams where they spend the first one to three years of their lives. Then, they move out to the ocean where they spend another one to four growing seasons. The steelhead then return to their native freshwater streams to spawn.

“Unlike Pacific salmon, steelhead do not necessarily die after spawning and are able to spawn more than once,” says Fish & Wildlife.

Another interesting fact:  While all O. mykiss hatch in gravel-bottomed, fast-flowing, well-oxygenated rivers and streams, some stay in fresh water all their lives. These fish are called rainbow trout.

Recipe: Grilled Steelhead Trout with Lemon and Herbs

Find a whole lot more information about steelhead trout at these links:

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

NOAA Fisheries Office of Protected Resources


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Tang St. Delivers Authentic Chinese Cuisine

Tang St. Delivers Authentic Chinese Cuisine

Pork Dumplings at Tang St.

Pork Dumplings at Tang St.

There’s a stack of take-out menus on the counter next to the door of Tang St. Chinese Resaturant, a new place on San Pedro Avenue, just south of Thousand Oaks. On the front is the motto worth repeating: “Food is the paramount necessity of people, taste is the priority of eating.”

Inside the menu you’ll find plenty to feast on, a large variety of Chinese-American favorites, from egg drop soup and sweet-sour shrimp to lemon chicken and chop suey. But don’t settle for the expected. If you want to make taste the priority of your dining at Tang St., then ask your server for the authentic Chinese menu and indulge in some exceptionally good flavors.

Many of the dishes on this menu may sound familiar, but you’ll soon discover you’re not treading on common ground. The sweet-sour ribs, for example, are not swamped in some DayGlo sauce with pineapple chunks and carrot slices suspended in the goo. In fact, you shouldn’t really expect a sauce at all. The large nuggets of pork were rubbed with seasoned flour before being tossed in the wok with a little oil, so the flavors of sugar, ginger, and spice are all in the coating on the meat, which could include bones. A few fresh vegetables added crunch and color.

More traditional were the pork dumplings, held together with a diaphanous layer of dough from the bottom of the pan. It was pure comfort food and did its best to prepare us for what was to come.

That included Spicy Duck with Beer, served over a flaming pot. Cubes of duck, bones and all, were floating in a lightly hoppy broth that showcased both beer and spices as well as the rich flavor of the meat. In the end, this was perhaps my favorite dish, because I was so pleasantly surprised at how well the wheat and citrus qualities of the beer worked with the dish.

Spicy Duck with Beer

Spicy Duck with Beer

The sound of scrambled eggs with tomatoes intrigued all of us at the table, and we were glad to dig in to the combination. But this was a dish that we ended up respecting more than loving, largely because sugar has been added to it — and that’s not a surprise either Bonnie or I appreciate in savory dishes, especially egg dishes. Sugar, in even the smallest quantity, can throw off a wine, and it’s often unnecessary. A little bit of research shows that the sugar is traditionally included when the dish is served in parts of China, but I would probably leave it out when I try to recreate it at home.

When we asked our helpful waitress what the two specials of the day were, she left us to translate the Chinese characters on her phone. She had told us the first was a hot pot with pork blood and a host of other ingredients in it while the second included fried pork balls.

Neither captured our fancy, but we did order the Pork Intestines with Pickled Cabbage. That’s right, a Chinese version of sauerkraut with soft intestines all swimming together. I loved the texture of this dish, though the aroma of it is decidedly pungent and may prove off-putting to some.

We couldn’t stop there, so we also had tender strips of beef stirred into a spicy pepper blend. And, yes, our table of three couldn’t hold all we had ordered, but we didn’t care. We were too busy enjoying all of the tastes coming from the kitchen.

There are a couple of strikes against Tang St. and neither has to do with the restaurant itself. One is the road work along the 281 access road, which makes it fairly unpleasant to drive to. The other is that it is housed in a space that was once occupied by a deplorable Chinese restaurant, and the ghosts of that wretched place seem to linger in the parking lot.

Spicy beef with peppers

Spicy beef with peppers

The first view of the interior doesn’t help much, either, as the place is minimally decorated and seems somewhat dingy. Yet the more we sat at the table, the more Bonnie and I wanted the massive Chinese print that covers the far wall. (It would look better in my house than hers. I know that for a fact.)

You can bring your own wine or beer to Tang St. We brought in a sampling of a German Riesling, a California Pinot Noir and a Rhone blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre, each of which went well with the occasionally spicy, complex flavors (though only the Riesling liked the sweet eggs).

Tang St. is still fairly new, and it is still finding its audience. There is talk of cutting back some of the authentic Chinese dishes, but this would be a shame. You may want to get over there in the next couple of weeks and let the folks at Tang St. know that while we like our Twice Cooked Pork and General Tso’s Chicken, we really appreciate the chance to have something special.

Tang St. Chinese Restaurant
16111 San Pedro Ave. #116
(210) 490-1788
Lunch/dinner: Daily


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Grilled Steelhead Trout with Lemon and Herbs

Grilled Steelhead Trout with Lemon and Herbs

Steelhead TroutGroomer’s Seafood’s newsletter prompted us to do some grilling this weekend. We can vouch for the simple method described below.

From Groomer’s newsletter: Steelhead trout just may be your new favorite “salmon!” The fillets have that beautiful salmon color due to their diet having large amounts of krill in it, with flavor reminiscent of salmon but with a slightly more delicate and mild taste. (Groomer’s has a special on steelhead trout this week — check it out before you go to get an update on supplies and price. (210) 377-0951.)

Krill, by the way, is a tiny crustacean that is eaten by whales, seals, penguins, squid and fish each year. Krill oil is also starting to be used as a dietary supplement for us humans, as studies have indicated it can help lower lipids as well as ease arthritis pain and function, according to Wikipedia.

For more on steelhead trout, see today’s Ask a Foodie.

Grilled Steelhead Trout with Lemon and Herbs.

Prepare your grill, gas or charcoal, so that it is at medium heat. Be sure the grill is well-brushed and clean.

Use olive oil to rub on the top of the fillet, and rub more on the skin side, too.

Over the top of the fish, squeeze the juice from two limes or half a large lemon. Salt (and pepper, if you want) then sprinkle favorite herb blend, using such herbs as finely minced dill, rosemary (very little), thyme, chives and a little minced garlic.

Lay the steelhead on the grill and let it roast for about 10-15 minutes. Check for doneness (it will feel firm if you press down on the thickest part of the flesh, gently with your finger.)




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