Two gourmet meals fit for the ice... or your kitchen table!
Buddy Bob Izumi, host of the Real Fishing Television Show, joined up with me last week but not for the reason you might suspect.
Oh, sure, Bob wanted to get in on the extraordinary ice fishing that avails itself across all of Northern Ontario at this time of the year, but there was also a little March madness to his thinking. You see, another good friend, two-time gold medal Team Canada Culinary Olympic Champion, Cameron Tait was going to be fishing with us. And Cameron promised to show us just how easy it is to cook gourmet fish dishes out on the ice with a minimal of preparation.
As everyone who has enjoyed a Northern Ontario shorelunch knows, it is the highlight of every fishing trip, but the fact of the matter is, most shorelunch recipes are less than innovative - usually involving some combination of corn flakes crumbs, corn meal, flour and hot oil in which to deep fry the fish.
Now, don't get me wrong - I love eating hot, crispy, golden brown walleye, perch, pike and crappie fillets prepared this way. But after the fourth or fifth time, it gets a little repetitive. And what about some of the other species like lake trout?
Well, I am glad you asked because if you too enjoy dining on delicious freshly caught trout (and salmon) you simply won't believe how easy it is to prepare Cameron's Cajun Trout.
By the way, when Cameron prepared this dish last week we didn't even start a fire, relying instead on one of the new Coleman Gladiator propane stoves. It is portable, lightweight and perfect for when there is a fire ban in effect in the summer. And it gets super hot so you can properly sear the meat which Cameron told me is one of the secrets to properly preparing fish.
Cameron’s Cajun Trout
Measure the following ingredients, place in a Ziploc bag, shake and reserve in the bag.
Cajun Spice Mixture:
- ½ cup Kosher salt
- 1 tsp Cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp black pepper
- ½ tsp ground white pepper
- ¼ cup paprika
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- Canola, peanut or olive oil for searing
- 6 oz(175gr)Trout, salmon or char fillets
Spicy Roasted Tomato Cream:
- 2/3 cup mayonnaise
- ¼ cup, fire roasted tomato, drained(canned is best)
- 4 drops Chipotle sauce(Lea and Perrins)
- 1 green onion, finely diced
- 1 jalapeño, seeded, finely diced (wear rubber gloves when handling!)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Lemon wedges for garnish
- Combine all ingredients together, reserve and chill.
1.) Place the fish on paper towels and let them sit for 30 minutes to soak up any excess moisture and come to temperature.
2.) Sprinkle the spice liberally on both sides and shake off any excess.
3.) Heat a non-stick pan or cast iron skillet on medium-high heat until the pan starts to lightly smoke, then carefully add a small amount of the oil to the pan.
4.) Place the fish in the pan, making sure you can hear it searing, and don’t over load it. Four or five pieces are plenty.
5.) Cook the fish for two or three minutes on the first side, then flip them over and cook them for another couple of minutes on the other side. When the fish is done, remove the chunks from the pan and let them rest. For the best results, you want the internal temperature of the fish to heat up to 140° F.
6.) Now, place the fish on your plate, top with a healthy dollop or two of tomato cream and enjoy!
If your catch includes walleye, perch or black crappies, on the other hand, here is a marvelous way to prepare them that has texture, a touch of sweetness and so many knock-your-socks off flavors that it will have you coming back for more and discarding the thought of always deep frying fish. And just like Cameron's Cajun Trout recipe, you can prepare the coating in advance and store it in the refrigerator or freezer for whenever the time is right.
Cameron’s Pecan Crusted Walleye
Pecan Crust Mixture:
1.) Gather all ingredients for the Pecan Crust.
2.) Place the pecans in a small food processor, a hand held chopper with a bottom bowl attachment is best. Pulse the pecans until half of their original size, add the panko breadcrumbs and blend for 10 - 15 seconds. It is desirable if the nuts are not too small: it gives the dish more texture and bite.
3.) Add the brown sugar, salt, pepper, orange zest and parsley; blend briefly for 5 seconds, remove from the bowl and place in a zip-lock bag.
4.) Place the walleye chunks on paper towels to remove any excess moisture, remove any skin or bones from the fillets.
5.) Heat your cast iron skillet or frying pan on medium-high heat to prepare for the next step.
6.) Place the walleye chunks in the bag containing the pecan crust and shake until they're well covered on all sides.
7.) Add a small amount of oil to the pan, add the walleye and cook until each chunk is golden brown on one side, then flip and cook until the other side is equally golden. More oil can be added if needed.
8.) When finished, place on a plate and sprinkle with Kosher salt and the juice from a half of a lemon.
For more information on fishing in Ontario visit www.northernontario.travel
To begin planning your next Canadian excursion, visit our Adventure Match to find the perfect lodge to suit your personal fishing or hunting preferences.
Author bio: Gord Pyzer is well-known in Canadian fishing circles as Doctor Pyzer because of his work for Ontario's Ministry of Natural Resources. He's now one of Canada's top fishing communicators and a member of the Canadian Angler Hall of Fame. Gord is a two time winner of Northern Ontario Tourist Outfitters Presidents Cup and is an internationally sought speaker, tournament angler and co-hosts the Real Fishing Radio Show with Bob Izumi.
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