Lake fish, what do you do with those fish once you catch them? Certainly seasonality, sport preferences and the areas that you fish in dictate what to do with the fish you catch but you just may want to enjoy them for dinner. Here are some awesome ideas from Lake Fish – Modern Cooking with Fresh Fish by Keane Amdahl, a social media specialist, food writer, and blogger.
Northern Pike Nuggets with Tartar Sauce
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons finely chopped cornichons
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup beer (or water)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons Old Bay seasoning
1 pound skinless northern pike fillets, cut into 1 1/2–inch nuggets
• Stir mayo, pickles, and vinegar in a small mixing bowl.
• Season with salt and pepper and refrigerate until needed.
• In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, beer, egg, baking powder, Old Bay, and a generous pinch of salt.
• Add about 2 inches vegetable oil to a medium saucepan.
• Place over medium-high heat and warm to 350 degrees.
• Dip fish nuggets into batter, gently place in the oil, and fry until golden brown, about 2 to 4 minutes. Remove from oil and drain on paper towel–lined plate.
• Season the nuggets with salt as soon as they come out of the fryer.
• Serve alongside the tartar sauce.
A fine adult take on classic fried chicken nuggets, made special by using northern pike fillets along with a tartar sauce seasoned with cornichons (small French pickles). All too often people don’t give northern pike the respect they deserve because their structure makes them more difficult to debone than your average fish, but these days there are many YouTube tutorials to help you through the process. And this recipe is a good choice for when those first few fillets don’t come out quite right. Give this fish a chance: the effort truly is worth it.
Grilled Catfish with Thai-Inspired Vinaigrette
1 cup olive oil
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon Sriracha
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1/2 cup chopped fresh herbs (basil, mint, cilantro)
1/2 cup crushed roasted peanuts
2 green onions, finely minced
1 Fresno chile, finely minced
4 (6- to 8-ounce) catfish fillets hot cooked jasmine rice
• To a mixing bowl, add olive oil, vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, fish sauce, Sriracha, ginger, herbs, peanuts, green onions, and chile, whisking to thoroughly combine. Refrigerate until needed.
• Place a griddle pan over medium-high heat. Pat the catfish fillets dry and season both sides with salt. When the griddle pan is hot, grease with nonstick spray and gently add the fillets.
• Cook for 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until the fish is cooked through and flakes easily.
• Serve with jasmine rice and spoon vinaigrette over the top.
This simply grilled fish pairs with the flavorful Thai vinaigrette in a way that seems almost too easy. It’s my favorite way to prepare catfish, and I bet that if you make it once, you’ll absolutely be making it again.
Oven-Roasted Sunfish, Fennel and Orange with Potato Puree and Chile Citrus Beurre Blanc
2 cups milk
2 medium potatoes, chopped
2 small onions, 1 roughly chopped and 1 sliced
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter
1 bulb fennel, thinly sliced, plus
1 tablespoon fronds, finely chopped
2 Cara Cara oranges, segmented, or substitute navel oranges, segmented
1 red finger (or Fresno) chile, finely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
12 small skinless sunfish fillets
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
• Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
• Add milk, potatoes, and roughly chopped onion to a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer.
• Season with a pinch of salt and cook until the potatoes are fork tender. Use a slotted spoon to remove potatoes and onions from the milk; transfer vegetables to a blender with 2 tablespoons butter. Blend to a smooth puree, adding milk as needed to reach desired consistency.
• Toss together sliced fennel, sliced onion, orange segments, and half of the chile with olive oil. Place on a baking tray and roast for 15 to 20 minutes. Season with salt.
• Grease a baking tray with nonstick spray. Season sunfish fillets with salt and pepper and place on the tray. Roast until fillets are cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes depending on size.
• Stir together vinegar and orange juice in a small saucepan over medium-high heat and cook until the liquid is reduced to about 1 tablespoon. Remove from heat and add in the remaining 6 tablespoons butter, whisking constantly until butter is fully melted and sauce is thoroughly combined.
• Stir in the remaining chile and the fennel fronds.
• Portion the potato puree onto serving plates, top with the fennel and orange mixture and the sunfish fillets, and drizzle on the butter sauce. Enjoy!
This dish is delicious and, despite the chile, not intensely spicy. The fennel and the orange lend a profound sweetness, while the potato puree gives some nice earthy tones. The beurre blanc is light and refreshing with just a touch of heat. Don’t fear the amount of butter used in the sauce. While it may seem like a lot, very little fat is used in the rest of the dish.
Red Wine Poached Trout
1 cup red wine
1 cup red wine vinegar
1 shallot, roughly chopped
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 teaspoon peppercorns
4 (4- to 6-ounce) skinless trout fillets
4 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into one-inch chunks
• Stir together red wine, vinegar, shallot, thyme, and peppercorns in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium low to maintain a gentle simmer.
• Place the fish fillets in the wine mixture and gently poach for 4 to 5 minutes or until the fish is just cooked through.
• Remove fish and set aside. Pour the wine mixture through a sieve into a bowl, discard the solids, and add the liquid back to the pot.
• Place over medium-high heat, bring mixture to a boil, and cook until reduced to about 1/2 cup.
• Remove from heat and cool slightly. Slowly whisk in the butter one piece at a time until fully incorporated. Drizzle the fish with the wine sauce and serve.
This fun and simple way of preparing trout not only imparts a nice hit of acidity and flavor to the fish but also gives the exterior a really cool purple hue while leaving the inside flesh a beautiful soft pink. It takes only minutes, but the result is really impressive and would work well at a dinner party served along with a side of creamy mashed or roasted potatoes and some roasted greens.