Wild onions (“ramps”) are among my favorite spring wild edibles. Much like a cross between an onion and garlic, they provide an earth-toned and yet spicy flavor base for soups, marinades, and dressings.
Just as any seafarer worth his salt has a cedar plank aboard ship, any fisherman with a grill should always have a cedar plank (available from most hardware and grocery stores) in his culinary arsenal.
With the spring salmon season and (we hope) an abundance of these silvery swimmers in our nets and freezers, there is good cause for versatility in the mess tent. Salmon is wonderful fried and grilled, but its robust texture is especially amenable to sauces.
The greatest challenge to steelhead fishing can be summed up in one word: torque. Ladies and gentlemen, if you’ve never heard the scream of a fly reel as your backing is stripped to nothing, you have a river of happiness in front of you.
One of the great bones of contention (pun intended) in freshwater fish consumption is whether Northern Pike should be eaten or used as garden fertilizer. In Iowa and Missouri, where Northern Pike are scarce, fishermen tend to prize the meat. I’ve heard Iowans declare that pike is better than walleye!
Often the difference between an ordinary and a gourmet fried fish meal is the introduction of a simple fresh sauce or topping. The use of fresh produce, whether home grown or from the grocery store, can provide a refreshing and zesty counterpoint against the oily crunchiness of the fish breading.
One of the great fallacies in the history of cooked freshwater fish is the notion that walleye needs to be breaded and deep fried. We all love a crisp, bread-crumbed walleye fillet atop a hoagie slathered in tartar sauce and slaw, but ask yourself the next time you order this North Country belt buster:
Most anglers love to fry their fish, and they can’t be blamed for it—especially in the heart of winter when fried crappie, perch, and walleye from the fishhouse serve as one of nature’s most effective comfort foods.
Incorporating apple cider, lemon, and rosemary, this fish stew is a festive, tangy centerpiece to a holiday or winter meal. I like to use firm-fleshed fish such as eelpout (a freshwater member of the cod family with a snake-like appearance and lobster-like consistency) or, from the ocean, marlin or black cod. Firm fish provides a good counterpoint against the crunchiness of the wild rice and the tanginess of the cider and lemon.