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Oven steamed sea trout

Updated: Mon, 29 March, 2021

Oven baked sea trout fillets simply seasoned with dill and lemon are in fact oven steamed: the delicate tasty fish cooks in steam, in an ordinary oven, at low temperature.

oven steamed sea trout

Never overcook fish!

Overcooked fish is one of the cardinal cooking sins in my books. I can take not-quite-pink lamb. I can stomach overdone beef if it is of good provenance, and unless charcoaled.

Duck is an accommodating bird: crispy Peking shredded into pancakes is as nice a thing as duck magret à point. But if you let fish cross the line between nicely flaking and stringy dry, that’s a catastrophe. Fishastrophe, even.

Salmonidae (pink fish to you and me) are particularly frequent victims of fishastrophe. Look away while grilling and your tasty, fatty salmon fillet turns into compressed sawdust. Poaching isn’t always the solution: I’ve had (or attempted to have) poached fish tasteless and dry as anything.

baked sea trout fillets

Easier said than done

It is really tricky to hit the moment of doneness-yet-succulence. Personally, I can eat my salmon raw but most people will balk at translucent fish flesh. True, those people will probably not mind the desiccation but cooking is about more than just 'not minding'. We should all strive at perfection!

Prodding fish with temperature probes is not always reliable considering the thinness of an average fillet. And prodding it with a knife and fork to see if it flakes easily ruins the presentation. The culinary aesthete in me disapproves.

How to perfectly bake sea trout

This method makes things easy and it works much better than wrapping fish in foil parcels. You still need to mind the time but the combination of low temperature and steam gets you at least halfway there.

If you’re a lucky owner of an oven with moisture injection function, you needn’t faff around with hot pans and boiling water. Simply set the oven to the relevant programme at the temperature indicated in the recipe below.

The rest of us mortals need to create steam, not unlike what happens when baking bread. To achieve that, you need to set up a steam source in the oven, on a rack below the one the fish will be baking.

The most effective way to generate lots of steam is to actually boil water in a cast iron dish or a heavy frying pan and transfer it, hot and full of boiling water, into the oven. But I am reluctant to advocate such a risky enterprise: better place the vessel in the oven whilst it heats up and just when the fish is about to go in, pour in boiling water from the kettle. That's a much safer approach.

sea trout fillet steamed in oven

When is sea trout in season?

Sea trout is a seasonal fish, available in the UK in summer. It's the salty water cousin of brown trout, bigger and hence less boney which is always a plus. It is usually sold whole, filleted by my kindly fishmonger, so I always need to freeze some of it in portions. And considering defrosted fish is even more prone to drying out, I religiously cook it with steam as described below.

The seasoning needs to be simple but if you do get hold of smoked salt, you won't regret seasoning your fish that way. Apart from salt and pepper, just a little olive oil and lemon will suffice, and lots and lots of fresh dill which is really wonderful with pink fish.

And samphire - another seasonal sign of summer, and so delicious with fish. If you're not partial to sea vegetables (though samphire is marvelously rich in nutrients and lean in calories), serve the sea trout with some land green veg: broccoli or green beans.

Oven steamed sea trout

Servings: 4Time: 25 minutes


  • 1 sea trout, filleted and skinned (about 600g)
  • smoked salt
  • black pepper
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • olive oil
  • ½ bunch fresh dill, finely chopped
  • To serve:
  • 200g fresh samphire
  • quartered lemon


1. If you’re a lucky owner of an oven with moisture injection function (but not steam oven), just set it to the appropriate programme at 130C/250F. The rest of us proceed as below.

sea trout fillet

2. Rinse and pat dry the sea trout sides, and cut them into portions of about 150g per person.

3. Preheat the oven to 130C/250F/gas ½. Arrange one rack in the top half of the oven, with another rack in the bottom half, with a cast iron skillet or a frying pan set on the lower shelf.

4. Pick the samphire off the toughest, woody stems and rinse with cold water. Place it in a pan with enough water to cover it.

5. Season the sea trout with the smoked salt and pepper, drizzle with lemon juice and olive oil and arrange on a baking sheet. Sprinkle half the dill over the fish.

oven ready sea trout

6. Boil the kettle and fill the preheated skillet on the lower rack in the oven. Place the fish on the top rack and close the oven door immediately. Bake the trout for 10 minutes; it will turn very pale pink.

how to cook sea trout

7. In the meantime bring the samphire to the boil, drain, return to the pan and keep warm.

8. Serve the trout fillets on a bed of samphire, sprinkled with the reserved dill and with the lemon quarters on the side.

Originally published: Wed, 2 August, 2017

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Anna @ CuisineFiend
Thank you Serena - sea trout and salmon too often end up very dry, and this is foolproof.
5 years ago
It works! I must admit I was skeptical and didn’t think the fish (sea trout) would be cooked through, but it was. Moist and flavourful
5 years ago

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Hello! I'm Anna Gaze, the Cuisine Fiend. Welcome to my recipe collection.

I have lots of recipes for you to choose from: healthy or indulgent, easy or more challenging, quick or involved - but always tasty.


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