• Cast Iron Blackened Steelhead with Grilled Baby Gem Lettuce


A Better Way to Blacken Fish

By Andrew Zimmern

In this episode of Wild Game Kitchen, I blacken beautiful crimson filets of steelhead in a screaming hot cast iron pan, serving it with a bold spice mixture of lemon, shallot and lots of herbs. To round it out, I’m charring baby romaine lettuce heads over the coals, and dressing them with an anchovy vinaigrette.

Andrew Zimmern Recipe Blackened Steelhead

Learn how to make a beautiful platter of blackened steelhead with grilled baby gem lettuce on this episode of Wild Game Kitchen.

Cast Iron Blackened Steelhead with Grilled Baby Gem Lettuce

Servings: 4



  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika (Spanish pimenton)
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 4 6-ounce portions trimmed steelhead filet
  • Salt

Grilled Baby Gem Lettuce

  • 3 heads baby gem lettuce or romaine hearts, cut in half lengthwise
  • 5 anchovy filets
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1/3-1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Radishes, for garnish


First, make the seasoning paste. In a mixing bowl, combine the thyme, oregano, shallots, paprika, cayenne, lemon zest, vegetable oil pepper, rosemary and lemon juice. Season with salt and set aside.

Melt butter in a small pot. Season the fish well with salt and melted butter on both sides. I lay my fish in a small tray and pour the butter over, turning the fish to get full coverage.

Over a hot fire, place a large well-seasoned cast iron skillet to preheat. When pan is scorching hot, lay your fish into the pan to blacken on each side. Cook for about 3 minutes on the first side, or until a nice crust has developed and the sides start to turn opaque. Flip and cook for another 3, until nicely blackened. Timing may vary depending on the thickness of your fish. When cooked through, place on a platter and cover with the reserved herb seasoning mix, garnish with the grilled heads of lettuce and serve.

Grilled Lettuce:

Trim and split the baby gem lettuce heads and wash, allow to dry very well. Do not trim the root end, so the heads stay together.

Place the anchovies, mustard, salt and pepper in a mortar and pestle. Combined to a coarse paste, drizzle in olive oil to emulsify and finish by seasoning with vinegar and lemon juice. You can also use an immersion blender for this.

Brush the lettuce halves with olive oil and char, face down on the grill over direct heat. The tops should still be cool and the faces warm and streaked with char. Place on a platter and drizzle with the vinaigrette, passing more at the table.

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