We’re on the Eel River: Benbow, California

Adapted from a recipe demonstrated by Joshua Schwartz: Executive Chef Del Dotto Vineyards

Josh Schwartz has an eye for all tasty things in the wild. When invited to spend a day fishing and cooking with our American Rivers Tour crew, he was quick to suggest we start by foraging for watercress and other wild greens that sprout around the cool, clear creeks which run into Humboldt County’s Eel River. He reminded me that any wild fish we catch should be returned to the resource. Hatchery steelhead are available in Northern California so our recipe will help tell that story.

This recipe comes from Josh’s imagination. He stopped at a friends hatchery on the way up to Benbow, and took time to craft the vinaigrette and cultured cream in his kitchen before packing his drift boat and setting out from the Del Dotto Vineyard in Napa Valley where he is the executive chef. Then, just before launching the drift boat we stopped to forage tender, delicious succulents.

If you take a minute to watch our video, you’ll see that the skin of the steelhead is left on and lightly scored. He places the steelhead’s skin down on a hot, lightly greased surface and tops the filets with a stone to hold the skin tight to the cast iron skillet.

Hatchery Steelhead lunch | By the Eel River in Benbow, California
Searing the steelhead skin side down
Joshua Schwartz, Executive chef at Del Dotto
Wild Fennel found along the eel river in California
Our finished Steelhead dish, cooked aside the eel river in California
Hatchery Steelhead with smashed potato, wild greens
American Rivers Tour | Cutting Board in action
Steelhead and potatoes recipe card

Click index card for full printable recipe