Steelhead Trout with Brown Butter Recipe

Steelhead trout prepared in a cast iron skillet with brown butter, orange, tarragon, and capers.

Steelhead Trout with Brown Butter Recipe

I’ve got your next seafood experiment RIGHT HERE. Except it’s not really an experiment on your part because I’m here to assure you it will turn out FANTASTIC.

Prepared in a cast iron skillet, steelhead trout with brown butter is a slight spin-off of the classic chicken piccata dish, however this recipe uses trout in place of chicken and fresh orange juice in place of lemon. A traditional chicken piccata dish consists of lemon, capers, and butter.

This recipe was inspired by a gastropub in South Boston called Local 149—a rustic restaurant with modern American cuisine.

Patty ordered a very similar dish and begged me to recreate it as usual. So what do I do in these scenarios? I snap a picture of the dish and menu so I can remember how it was created. Yes, I’m that guy who takes pictures of his food before devouring it.

Steelhead trout with brown butter consists of pan-seared trout that is lightly dredged in flour. and topped with a brown butter sauce made with fresh herbs, capers, and a fresh squeezed orange. You guessed it, sweet and savory.

What is Brown Butter?

Brown butter is melted butter that has been slowly heated until it transforms to a silky, golden brown sauce with a nutty aroma. It’s commonly used to add flavor to meat or fish.

To make brown butter, heat butter on medium heat until it lightly simmers and starts to foam. Be sure to occasionally whisk until the foam subsides and butter takes on a dark golden color with small brown specks at the bottom. This is when I add capers, fresh herbs. and orange juice.

I’ll admit capers had to grow on me. Now, I crave the flavor. I love this recipe because it’s buttery, tangy, sweet, and salty all at once. The light flour coating creates a slightly seared crust that absorbs the orange and butter.

A quick note on the fish. Steelhead trout is very similar to salmon, yet more mild in taste. You’ve probably seen it at the fish counter without realizing it. You could also prepare this with salmon if you can’t find steelhead trout or just prefer salmon.

Steelhead Trout with Brown Butter Recipe
Steelhead Trout with Brown Butter Recipe

Steelhead Trout with Brown Butter Recipe

  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 20 mins
  • Yield: 2 1x



  • 2 steelhead trout filets, skin removed
  • 1/4 cup flour, for dredging
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 orange, juice squeezed
  • 1 tablespoon capers, rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Heat olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Meanwhile, season each filet with salt and pepper and lightly dredge in flour, shaking off any excess. Sear trout two minutes, flip and sear for 2 more minutes.
  3. Remove trout from the skillet and place on a plate. Turn the skillet down to medium heat and add the butter, bringing to a slow foamy simmer. Occasionally whisk until the foam subsides and butter takes on a dark golden hue, about 3-5 minutes. Small brown specks will separate from the butter and collect at the bottom of the pan.
  4. Turn heat to low and whisk in the juice from the orange, capers, and chopped tarragon. Let simmer for about 2 minutes.
  5. Return trout to the skillet and sear for an additional minute per side. Serve with brown butter sauce drizzled over each piece of trout.