April 9, 2007

Cooking Your Catch

I’m a fisherman’s wife. I don’t know if I’ve ever said that before on my site, but it is true. And in most cases this means being a “fisherman’s widow”, but this is just not true.

Yes, my fisherman is incoherent when any type of fishing show is on ESPN, many weekends are spent traveling pre-fishing and at tournaments, when he needs a break for the hustle and bustle of work he retreats to lake (like most) and then there is always the hope that he’ll come home from a tournament with a check or a good showing.

There is however the benefits of being a fisherman’s wife : The quality time spent with one another on the lake enjoying each other’s time. (You can view some photos from a recent fishing trip together on the Brownfield Blog.)

Whether you enjoy bass fishing as much as your spouse making the effort to go fishing together is worth it’s weight in gold. Fishing can be a relaxation and a break from the real world for the both of you. Besides, there is nothing I enjoy more than standing beside my husband "chunking and reeling" trying to catch more fish than him.

I grew up eating the fish my father brought home from his daily catch, usually bass, crappie or walleye. Some of my favorites. But since marrying a bass fisherman, we don’t eat much bass anymore. (Why? Bass Fisherman believe in turning bass loose to catch them another day, I call it being a conservationist.)

But there are many (like my father and brothers) that enjoy eating bass. And there aren’t many recipes out there for cooking bass fish. So, I’ve complied some from my family’s home.

Let most of your bass go, but keep a few to eat. They make great meals!

In my opinion, there are very few meals that beat fried fish. When filleting bass you end up with a skinless, boneless piece of meat. I wash them off and put them into plastic ziploc bags, dividing them into meal size packages. After the fish go into the bag I put about a tablespoon of salt in the bag and fill it with water, squeezing out any air and sealing them. Sitting in the refrigerator for a day or so in the salt water seems to improve the flavor.

When I am ready to cook the fish, I rinse the salt off and prepare them in different ways.
For frying, I pat them dry, roll the fillets in corn meal and drop them into a "Frydaddy" deep fat cooker. They brown in about five minutes and are ready to eat. Fillets from a two pound bass are big enough that my husband and I eat about two each, along with french fries or some of grandma’s hush puppies.

Here are some other ways to cook bass:
If you like baked fish place in a baking dish, put dots of butter on it, covered it with a sliced onion and some garlic power and cooked it in the microwave for a few minutes (or in the oven.
Place fillet in a small baking dish, covered them with Picante sauce and nuke them for five minutes. Good and tasty with a baked potato and a salad.

If you ever cook panfry some deer burgers, keep the grease, get it hot and put a fillet into the grease - with nothing on it. When the fillets began to turn white around the edges, I turned them and poured a little Italian salad dressing on them. By the time they had cooked through, the dressing had flavored them and they were a nice brown on both sides. This kind of tastes like swordfish, seriously it does.

For a very good baked fish, take some dry stuffing mix, crush it into a powder and coat the fillets with it. I put them into a baking dish, put a pat of butter on top of each and cook them in the microwave (or oven) for about five minutes. They have a completely different taste than any other way I cook them, the stuffing mix gives them a very good flavor.

Another way to fry fillets is to make a batter of half-and-half flour and corn meal moistened with milk. Make a thick coating on the fillets and drop them into hot oil in deep fat fryer. The fillet inside the crust is moist and will put any fast food fish to shame.


Anonymous said...

Love-it, Love-it. Great photos, article and recipes.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lane...just want you to know I enjoy reading your blog and of course this one about fishing and eating fish hit home! I miss working with you at the tournaments! Hope to see you soon...any good hush puppy recipes? Keep Charlie out of trouble! Your friend, Kari Bowling