By KELLSEY TRIMBLE
Fishing is a favorite hobby for rural folks during the summer months – and even the winter months for those up North who enjoy ice fishing. It’s a pastime that offers the chance to slow down and enjoy the great outdoors, all while putting a healthy source of protein on the dinner table.
If you aren’t a big fan of the taste of fish, some types aren’t quite so “fishy” and have a milder flavor, including catfish and trout. Some say it helps temper the flavor by soaking fillets in equal parts water and vinegar for 30 minutes before cooking, or soaking fillets overnight in milk or buttermilk. You can also try mixing and matching herbs and spices to create a blend that your palate will enjoy. Fish readily takes on the flavor of whatever spice or herb you are cooking with, so you can season fillets to your liking.
Classic battered and fried fish pairs perfectly with a pile of crispy potatoes, or “chips” if you follow English tradition. And don’t forget the malt vinegar and some tartar sauce for dipping. If you prefer to eat fewer fried things, simple seasoned and baked fish can be just as delicious. A side of cool, creamy slaw and a few warm hush puppies completes the meal for a delicious plate that’s hard to resist.
Whether you do your fishing from a nearby river or lake, or from the pond on your own acreage, an old-fashioned fish fry is the perfect way to celebrate a successful day on the water. Enjoy!
Yields 4 servings
Oil for frying
1 pound cod, fillets or chunks, cut into 3-inch pieces
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon pepper, divided
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
1/2 cup water
1 large egg
Fresh parsley, (optional)
In large cast-iron pot or skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1/2 inch oil to 360 degrees, and monitor with cooking thermometer.
Rinse and pat fish dry with paper towel. Sprinkle both sides evenly with salt and pepper.
In medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder, cayenne, lemon zest, and remaining salt and pepper. Whisk water into flour mixture. Whisk in egg.
Working in batches, dredge fish in batter, and carefully place in hot oil. Cook for 3 minutes on each side, or until golden. Place on paper towel-lined plate to cool. Sprinkle with parsley before serving.
Easy tartar sauce
Yields about 1 1/2 cups.
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar or lemon juice
3 to 4 tablespoons minced dill pickles
2 tablespoons minced capers, optional
3 tablespoons minced fresh herbs, such as parsley, chives or tarragon
In small bowl, combine mayonnaise and mustard. Whisk in vinegar.
Place minced pickles and capers on paper towel and wring out excess liquid. Add to mayonnaise mixture with herbs, and mix well. Season with salt, if desired.
Yields 4 servings.
4 fish fillets
4 teaspoons butter, divided
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons paprika, divided
Cherry tomatoes, halved
1 onion, sliced, (optional)
1/2 green pepper, chopped, (optional)
8 lemon slices
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Tear off two large sheets aluminum foil. Place two fillets on each sheet. Dot each fillet with 1 teaspoon butter, and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon paprika.
Evenly divide and place tomatoes, onion, green pepper, and lemon slices over fillets. Sprinkle evenly with lemon juice and parsley. Fold ends of foil up, and seal edges.
Place foil packets in shallow baking dish, and bake for 30 minutes.
Note: Hot steam will form in packets, so be careful when opening.
Bluegrass hush puppies
Yields 25 hush puppies.
Oil, for frying
2 cups cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup chopped onion
In large cast-iron pan, heat oil to 375 degrees.
In large bowl, sift together cornmeal, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Add egg, water, buttermilk, and onion, and mix well.
Drop by teaspoonfuls into hot oil. Fry for 3 to 5 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oil, and drain on paper towel-lined plate.
Classic creamy slaw
Yields 4 to 6 servings.
3 cups shredded cabbage
1/2 green pepper, finely diced
2 carrots, shredded
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 teaspoon prepared yellow mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons half-and-half or whole milk
Italian parsley leaves, chopped, (optional)
In large bowl, combine cabbage, green pepper, and carrots. Set aside.
In small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, sugar, celery seed, mustard, vinegar, and half-and-half. Add to cabbage mixture, and mix well. Garnish with parsley, if desired.
Note: The slaw dressing can be made in advance and stored in a sealed jar in the refrigerator, where it will keep for several weeks.
Yields 4 servings.
4 medium potatoes
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
2 to 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
Salt and pepper, to taste
Heat oven to 425 degrees.
Cut potatoes into wedges 1/2-inch wide, and cut in half to form chunks. Rinse in cold water. Drain thoroughly and pat dry with tea towel.
In large bowl, combine oil, rosemary, garlic, salt, and pepper. Mix until well blended. Add potatoes, and toss to coat.
lace potatoes on ungreased baking sheet, and bake for 40 minutes, or until golden brown and tender, stirring occasionally.
Lemon ice box pie
1 1/2 cups vanilla wafer crumbs
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
Zest of 1 lemon, divided, (optional)
1 can (6 ounces) frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
1 container (8 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed, divided
In large bowl, combine wafer crumbs and butter. Press firmly on bottom and up sides of 9-inch pie plate. Chill in refrigerator.
In large bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Gradually beat in sweetened condensed milk, half the lemon zest, and lemonade concentrate. Fold in half the whipped topping. Pour into pie shell. Chill for 4 hours, or until set. Garnish with remaining whipped topping and lemon zest.
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