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  • Aquaculture in the Kitchen: Riverence Trout Recipes

    Pink fillet of fish on a round white dish, garnished with green onions and herbs and orange citrus halves.

    Pan-seared Riverence trout fillet

    Photo courtesy of Riverence

    Todd English is more than a passionate fisherman. With a background in biology and environmental science, he is dedicated to protecting America’s waterways through innovative aquaculture. As an entrepreneur and sustainability professional, he has co-founded companies to develop market-based solutions for climate change and differentiate commodities based on environmental impact. He now leads sustainability initiatives at Riverence, North America’s largest land-based trout and steelhead producer.  

    With operations in Twin Falls, Idaho, and outside Olympia, Washington, Riverence is dedicated to stewarding America’s waterways through sustainable, ethical, and healthy aquaculture practices. It is so important to protect our waterways and all life within them, and Riverence supports this by raising fish from eggs to ready-to-eat whole trout with the minimal necessary level of human interaction. Hatching, farming, and processing are designed to work with the natural environment rather than against it. Riverence’s aquaculture therefore works for the health of our waterways, consumers, and the fish population. These trout are fed a diet high in astaxanthin, the micronutrient that gives trout and salmon their red color and makes them so nutritious for us.

    The following recipes are some of the quickest and easiest ways to prepare trout, perfect for adding more fish into your weekday dinners and lunches. English has been demonstrating these recipes this week at the Festival Foodways stage at the 2022 Folklife Festival. Catch him one last time on Sunday, June 26, at 4 p.m.

    A man in red plaid shirt and gray apron with headset microphone handles a whole fish in a demonstration kitchen, the mirror above him showing the counter.
    Todd English in the Festival Foodways demonstration kitchen, June 25, 2022.
    Photo by Sonya Pencheva, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives

    Pan-Seared Riverence Trout Fillet

    This recipe is the easiest method to cook Riverence trout fillets. It requires very little prep and cooking time, so it is perfect when you’re in a hurry and want a healthy and delicious lunch or dinner.

    Prep time: 3 minutes
    Cook time: 5 minutes


    Riverence steelhead or rainbow trout fillet
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    2 tablespoons butter
    Salt and pepper


    Rinse and pat dry the fillet. Heat skillet over medium high heat on stovetop. Add olive oil and butter, and melt until the butter starts to bubble. Place fillet skin side down.

    Season fillet with salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lemon. Let cook for 3–4 minutes or until the belly meat becomes opaque. Flip fillet and let cook for another 1 ½–2 minutes.

    Place fillet on plate and let rest for 2 minutes. The flesh will easily slide off the skin for serving or enjoying.

    Whole cooked fish in pale liquid, in tinfoil, with lemon wedges placed into its skin.
    Oven-baked whole Riverence trout
    Photo courtesy of Riverence

    Oven-Baked Whole Riverence Trout

    The whole-trout method is ideal for family-style eating or impressive table presentations. The prep time is minimal, and cooking in foil makes for easy cleanup.

    Prep time: 5 minutes
    Cook time: 12–15 minutes


    16–20 ounces whole Riverence steelhead or rainbow trout
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    3 tablespoons butter
    Salt and pepper


    Heat oven to 400˚ F in bake mode.

    Rinse and pat dry a whole Riverence steelhead or rainbow trout. Place several pats of butter and lemon slices into the cavity of the fish. Drizzle olive oil over the whole fish and season with salt and pepper.

    Place fish in a sheet of aluminum foil and wrap it fairly tight but leave a little space for steam to escape. Place foil pouch onto a baking sheet and bake for 12–15 minutes until meat is opaque inside.

    Optional presentation: Make several small slices on the trout vertically across the meat down to the spine on one side. Insert lemon slices into the cuts.

    Kathryn Casey is the 2022 Folklife Festival foodways assistant and a graduate student of cultural studies and folklore at George Mason University. Her love of food comes from a long family tradition of wonderful home cooks as well as a decade’s experience working in food service.

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