Fishing leaves us with many things in life, the memories of time spent with family and friends, the calm of being on the water, and the skills needed to meet angling success (tying flies, choosing lures, casting, and patience). Most importantly, an angling hobby leads to fresh, delicious, healthy wild fish to put upon your table. How you prepare your bounty is often a tradition in families. There are many different and diverse ways to enjoy wild fish and whether you are cooking it fresh from the lake or taking it out of your freezer from last season’s Mar Mac fishing trip, you know you are in for a special treat. How you prep your fish is a matter of choice. Read on to learn about some of those choices.
Fish fry (of course)
A fish fry is most peoples’ first choice for fresh caught pike, walleye, whitefish, or perch for good reason, it’s delicious, simple, and fun. Frying has been the go-to method for our family for generations. Its strength lies in its versatility. It can be cooked on the stove top or over a fire. It works in any ingredients as sides, it can have a wet or dry batter on the fish and is always a hit. Our favourite method is a dry batter with flour, seasoning salt, paprika, and a few other herbs and spices. We recommend you simply go ahead and make the coating your own using whatever spices you have on hand. Just heat up a neutral, high heat oil in a deep-set frying pan and you are good to go. Cut up potatoes and onions to add into the oil for an excellent side.
People often don’t equate wild fish with soup or chowder and that’s a shame, because chowder makes an amazing meal. We do recommend whitefish or walleye for their more delicate and light flavour. Chowder is a hearty stew that won’t leave you hungry and is a great way to utilize the past summer’s frozen fish to keep you warm this winter. Making chowder is easy, use your favourite chowder recipe (if you don’t have one, a quick online search will lead you to one!) and substitute your fish for the protein listed.
BBQ Cedar Plank
Everyone has had or heard of BBQ salmon on a cedar plank, yet when it comes to the fish from Ontario inland lakes it seems to be a rarity. The cedar adds a wonderful smoky taste to the flesh and protects the meat from charring. This method can be used for any fish, but we suggest the larger fillets of pike or even trout from Rock Lake. Add some herbs, spices, and a healthy amount of lemon juice. This truly is an amazing way to prepare your catch. Pair your fish with fresh, seasonal vegetables and enjoy it on a sunny day.
Canada is known for many things, our amazing natural environments, politeness, apologies, and poutine! But the one item that we believe defines us as a nation is maple syrup. If you haven’t tried fish glazed with Canadian maple syrup, then you are missing out. Try this with baked perch once and you’ll want to try it with everything you catch. Simply pour some amber maple syrup in a bowl, add some pepper and lemon zest, then proceed to brush the mixture onto your fish. Set your oven’s broiler to high and watch the glaze turn into a sweet and delicious bark. Pair this with baked potatoes and vegetable of your choice.
There are a million different ways to prepare fish going right back to the basics, spearing it on a stick and holding it right over the fire. We’ve written here about a few other ways that are not just extremely simple to make but taste amazing. Cooking the fish that you caught is all part of the Mar Mac experience. We hope you spend some time experimenting and creating new family recipes to hand down to the future anglers in your life.