Pan-Roasted Trout with Toasted Walnut Green Sauce

Yesterday was a picture-perfect Spring day. Everything was in bloom, the sky was bright blue, and, though I was walking about the concrete jungle of Hollywood, I swear I heard young birdies chirping from a nest.

That said it’s time to cook something bright, fresh, and easy — something that screams, “Hello, Spring!” So here it is: a toasted walnut sauce made with heaps and heaps of fresh herbs. It may seem like this recipe is willy-nilly with any assortment of herbs you’d like, but, so long as they’re tender-stemmed herbs it more than works out, trust me.

But I can’t take credit for this dish. This recipe is my bastardization of a classic German sauce, known as Grune Sosse. I know, I don’t know how to pronounce it either. And, seeing as I’ve never been served this sauce — in Germany or elsewhere — I just took the idea and ran with it. So, here it goes: a sauce that’s light and spring-y, with no real guarantee that it tastes anything like the recipe that inspired it.

What I can guarantee is that it’s good. Packed with loads of nutty walnut and herb flavors, this green sauce adds a burst of bright Spring flavors to anything it’s paired with. It’s also extremely versatile, working as well with this pan-roasted trout for a quick dinner or with crisp seasonal vegetables for an easy, healthy appetizer.

And the best part? It’s a go-to for an easy dinner party recipe because you’ll have the whole thing on the table before you’ve finished your first glass of wine. Which, if you ask me, should be something mineral-y and crisp like a good Pinot Gris.

Aida Mollenkamp Pan-Roasted Trout with Green Sauce

Pan-Roasted Trout with Toasted Walnut Green Sauce Recipe

  • Makes: About 2 cups sauce//4 servings trout
  • Total Time: 20 minutes plus 30 minutes chilling time
  • Hands-On Time: 20 minutes


  • For the green sauce:
  • 2 ounces (about 2 packed cups) mixed fresh herbs such as chives, chervil, dill, parsley, tarragon
  • 2 ounces (about 2 packed cups) mixed spicy greens such as watercress, sorrel, or dandelion
  • 1 ounce (about 1 packed cup) baby spinach leaves
  • 1 cup (about 2 ounces) toasted walnut halves
  • 3/4 cup well-shaken buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup lowfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons walnut oil or olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • For the trout:
  • 2 tablespoons walnut oil or olive oil
  • 4 small boned and butterflied whole rainbow trout, head and skin on
  • Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • Toasted Walnut-Herb Green Sauce
  • Lemon slices, for serving


  • For the green sauce:

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired. Chill for at least 30 minutes before using.

(Make Ahead: Sauce will last up to 4 days when refrigerated in an airtight container.)

  • For the trout:

Heat oil in a large cast iron pan over medium-high heat. Sprinkle fish all over with salt and pepper.

When oil shimmers, add whole fish, and cook until flesh is opaque, about 3 to 5 minutes. Turn fish over and cook on second side until just opaque in center, about 3 to 5 minutes more.

Transfer fish to plates (you can serve one whole fish per person or separate it into filets as desired), serve with a few slices of lemon, and a few spoonfuls of green sauce. Pass additional sauce on the side. (You will have extra sauce — use it as a dip with raw vegetables, on an omelet, served with boiled potatoes, on a sandwich, or to top other seafood or poultry dishes.)

Fine Print: I work with the California Walnut Board to create recipes and share creative ways to cook with walnuts. This is one of the recipes I’ve created with them, for more recipes ideas, click here.

Photography by Holly Stewart and food styling by Lillian Kang

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