Kitchen confidential: Tomas Rahal, Mas tapas


Tomas Rahal and his pan-roasted wild steelhead trout at Mas

The secret to great cooking is... no shortcuts, be patient, and wait until the very last possible moment before finishing so everything peaks at the same time.

The secret to success in the restaurant business is... a solid business plan, realistic expectations, excellent staff training, and earning customers' trust over time. Always exceed expectations.

The secret to making Mas's pan-roasted wild steelhead trout is... super-fresh fish and wild mushrooms. As a rule, practice patient cooking, never rush "slow-cooked foods" because you're developing the flavors more deeply, and that can't be rushed.

Mas's pan-roasted wild steelhead trout

filet of fresh trout or wild salmon (about 6-8 oz.)

fresh thyme

1 shallot

2 cups of hedgehog or wild mushrooms

olive oil

salt and pepper

1 bay leaf


Pre-heat oven to 375.

Take your trout filet and rinse in clean, cold water. Leave the skin on, and allow to dry on towels in fridge. 

Meanwhile, trim a heaping handful of mushrooms and brush (do not rinse) clean of dirt, ferns, etc. Slice and dice one whole shallot.

To make mushroom stock, take the non-dirt mushroom trimmings, part of the shallot, a pinch of pepper, 2 cups of spring water, a sprig of fresh thyme, and a fresh bay leaf. Cook in a sauce-pot until reduced by one half.  

Season the trout with grey sea salt, cracked white pepper, and a smidge of minced garlic by rubbing the mixture gently into the flesh.

Bring a sauté pan to medium high heat and place fish flesh down with a tablespoon of cooking oil, light olive oil, or clarified butter. Allow the fish to cook and caramelize thoroughly on the first side before flipping over. This generally takes about 8-10 minutes depending on the thickness of the filet. 

Flip the filet and place skin down in the pre-heated oven for about 5 minutes to crisp the skin and plump up the fish.  Lightly salt the cooked side and remove fish from pan.

Place the mushrooms, thyme, and shallots in the pan with a drizzle more oil, sauté well, deglaze with the stock and white wine, and reduce until it sticks to the back of a spoon nicely.

Pour mushrooms and glaze over the fish to plate. You may also mount or swirl a tablespoon of sweet butter into the glaze before plating if you wish.  

This dish is best when paired with a floral, dryly acidic white or Rosado wine, or a  pungent pale ale.

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