Fish, Dear Readers

Apparently, there are people reading this blog. Wonderful! Now I feel pressured to perform, and write funny and witty repartee every single time I post. Oh well. Thanks for coming anyway.

I have some fish stories.

About four years ago, I gave my oldest son permission to fish in a neighborhood pond as long as he had permission from some of the landlubbers over there. He came home with seven fish.

DH remembered that he loves to fish too, and became reacquainted with the pastime two years ago. Now the whole family is involved. DH and the boys love to go fishing, especially when the salmon are running, in hopes of catching The Big One. And I go fishing with DH now on our very romantic dates. I will tell you about one of the most beautiful days ever, then I will talk Fish Fry.

DH took me fishing for the first time about a month or so ago. The day had spit rain off and on, but it looked like it was going to dry up and allow us an afternoon of fishing. The boys were on board with babysitting; we pay them way too much.

We arrived at the park; DH taught me how to tie the hook on, where to put the bobber and so on. I already knew how to bait the hook, so we set up our lines about fifteen or twenty feet away from each other, and began to fish. Fishing is very well suited to the Introverted, and our dates are pretty quiet these days. The sun inched its way west, and it began to drizzle so lightly as to be a fine mist. Then the sun burst through, and the air sparkled with glitter. It was breathtakingly beautiful, and I didn’t care if I never caught anything. But I did catch some rinky-dink fish. That’s it. Nothing earth-shattering, but a day so glorious that I will never forget it.

Now, on to fish fries. My paternal grandmother loved to fish with her her husband as well. And Grandma F could COOK. She made homemade coleslaw and hushpuppies to die for. Our family often was invited to one of her famous fish fries. I’ll have to ask Dad what kind of fish they served, but it was probably locally caught in one of the many ponds or rivers of my hometown.

When my oldest son brought fish home big enough to eat, I realized I would have to gut it in order to teach him how. Thanks, Google! We gutted it and filleted it with a lot of commentary to each other and advice. When the deed was done, I dredged the fish chunks in a simple cornmeal and Old Bay seasoning mixture. That was some of the best fish EVER. It didn’t taste like fish at all, in fact. I think that was a small mouth bass.

I’m getting pretty good at preparing fish now, between the MackDaddies that DH and the boys bring home, and the frozen fish in Aldi’s freezer section.  Two of my favorite ways to prepare my water-breathing buddies are broiled and fried. I generally broil big fish steaks…salmon mostly. Anything else, Tilapia, catfish, trout, ocean perch and so on, gets dredged and fried. My preferred breading on fish has corn meal, but I don’t have any in the cupboard at the moment. Second to last time we had fish, I opened a cornmeal muffin mix, used a tablespoon or two of that, added flour and spices, and used that. It was great.

A simple fish batter goes something like this:

Fish fillets or fish chunks. (I am bone-phobic, so chunks it almost always is, because I’ve cut it to pieces in search of every last bone fragment.)

Enough flour or cornmeal (or both together) to coat the amount of fish you have. Maybe 1 cup?

If you have it, Old Bay seasoning, one Tablespoon.

That’s all you need, just coat the fish in a milk or egg wash, then dredge in the grain and fry in the oil of your choice. However, I ran out of Old Bay, so here is a seasoning mix for you. It doesn’t compare to Old Bay, BTW, it’s just using what I have in the cupboards.

1 Cup flour

2 Tablespoons corn meal or corn muffin mix

1 Teaspoon chili powder

1 Teaspoon salt

1 Teaspoon black pepper

1 pinch cayenne pepper

1 Teaspoon garlic powder

Combine in storage size zip-top bag. If desired, coat fish in milk or egg wash, then shake in bag. Fry in appx one inch of canola oil. You can cook it in olive oil; I use less than an inch high in the skillet, but you have to be careful because it smokes at a lower temp. Maybe if you don’t have a lot of fish to fry. Cook until meat is opaque. Fish cooks very quickly. Serve with cornbread or hush puppies. (I don’t know how to make those yet. Stay tuned.) Coleslaw is also a nice touch.

Gone fishin’.