Catch Of The Day

It’s been a long time since I’ve tasted a Northern or Walleye, let alone caught one.

Back in the halcyon days of summer vacations, Dad ‘n’ I would arise before anybody else (I’m talking 5:00 a.m.) and launch the resort’s Alumacraft fishing boat with its 25 hp Evinrude motor armed with a thermos of coffee and fishing poles from home in high hopes of catching a lunker. Some morning our outings yielded Northerns; other days walleyes. Both were wonderful.

So are the memories.

There’s nothing like casting a line and feeling a rebellious tug beneath the surface, except for eating it later. (Fellow-fisherman, you know from whence I speak.) One of the highest compliments my Dad ever paid me was: “Nice cast!” On that particular morning mine landed next to a weed bed where I subsequently reeled in a 5-pound Northern. I’ll never forget the sight of it breaking the calm surface of the lake with a defiant splash — or the proud look on my father’s face.

Afterwards we went back to the cabin to cook breakfast. While Dad cleaned our early-morning catch, I prepped potatoes, toast, and another pot of coffee. One of the best wake-up calls I’ve ever experienced was the aroma of fried potatoes and fresh fish fillets sizzling in a cast iron skillet with toast and freshly brewed coffee.

Plenty of butter was also a plus.

Recently I bought some Ghee — clarified butter with the milk solids removed — after attempting to make my own and researching numerous articles re: its compatability with dairy allergies. I miss butter! Some of them said it was a no-no, while others proclaimed it was lactose and “dairy-protein-free.” (The bane of my existence.) Ever the optomist, I opted for the latter. So far, so good, one teaspoon or “dunk” at a time.

Last weekend a couple from church returned from a fishing trip to Canada with two coolers full of fillets on ice intent on giving away their excess. Thank you SO much for your generosity! I was like a kid in a candy store in front of their tailgate in the church parking lot. After I got home I thawed a bag of Walleye fillets and made Walleye Almondine (or Amandine.) Sorry, no photos — it was gone in a flash.

The next day I made Poor Man’s Lobster (click on the link for the recipe): Northern fillets poached in a white wine and what-have-you broth. I added a few Court Bouillon ingredients ala Alton Brown — the more, the merrier — and broiled them to perfection later. Soooo grateful to taste that flavor again.

Enjoying the catch of the day and memories,

~ Kim

13 thoughts on “Catch Of The Day

  1. Fresh fish is really one of the best foods ever. We’ve been enjoying the fish in our temporary place in South Carolina, as we don’t see ocean fish that fresh where we live in Michigan. Fresh-water fish isn’t sold much at home because of pollution in the Great Lakes.

    best… mae at maefood.blogspot.com

    • Oh Mae! So sorry I didn’t see your comment until now. Thank you! I agree, pollution is a factor re: which fish you can eat or not, but these fillets came from the pristine waters of Canada so i figured I was safe eating them four meals in a row! Glad you’ve enjoyed your “catch of the day” in South Carolina. Hoping to join you and the IMK’ers in March, xo.

    • Debra, I’m tickled you enjoyed the trip down memory lane (or memory lake, ha!) I’ve been very judicious about adding ghee, but oh my heavens, toast tastes so much better with a tiny bit of butter on it! Fingers crossed…

  2. Well, I’ve made my own Ghee… the trick is the wooden spoon. And I’ve had the ‘fish breakfast’… and it’s a fantastic memory.
    But the picture you posted… well… that just about made me get up and go fishing…and it’s alreay 2:15AM here.

    • I’ll have to try making Ghee again, Stan — thanks for the tip, and for your fish breakfast memories. Glad you liked the photo, too… there’s nothing like a fish fillet “flaking just right.” (You know what I mean.) Did you go fishing?! :)

  3. My husband and I did a fishing trip on some lake with a funny name in Minnesota. It was so big it was like being on an ocean. The fishing was good, and that’s where I tasted my first walleye. That’s some good eatin’! I’m glad for the experience. But what they say about the bugs is true. Lucky you to get all of that northern fish!!!

    • Chef Mimi, I’m thinking it was Winnebegoshish or Kabetogemah? Gotta love MN lake names. :) I once chartered a fishing boat on “Big Winnnie” only to contend with its 10 ft. ocean-like swells and whatever else Mother Nature threw at us when the weather took a turn — thankfully with no bugs, although I know what that’s like, too — then pretended to be a “surfer” to live through that exhilarating adventure. Amazing how quickly “big water” can change your outlook on life. Glad to hear you had good fishing and walleye, too. Yum!

      I’m just now thawing out the rest of the fillets to make fish tacos for supper tonight — with a slightly different slaw — caramelized shallots, sauteed spinach, and toasted walnuts in a citrus vinaigrette. Sorta like fishing on the big lakes of MN… whatever the wind blows up. :)

      • Hmmm that sounds good. Yes, the swells were incredible. The damn flies stayed on the boat with us. Didn’t know flies liked boating so much. It could have been Lake Winnie.

        • Just got done caramelizng the shallots, sauteeing the spinach and garlic (which I forgot to mention) and pulverizing the toasted walnuts, then tossing them together. Frankly, that combo tasted so good I might not even mess with the vinaigrette! Every day is a new adventure. I’m pretty sure you were plagued by horse flies. They seem to like boaters as much as horses, alhough I’m not sure what being in the middle of a big lake (or miles from horses) has to do with their pesky presence! :)

          • Oh that sounds fantastic. The little flies were worse than the horse flies. And they are the ones that wouldn’t stay on land. So when you stopped to fish, they began messing with you. It was so annoying.

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