O&A correspondent Chris McClure discovers the tricks of the trade from master cake designer Irene Maston from Irene’s Cakes by Design in Ludlow.
When it comes to bass fishing, catch and release has become the norm. This has helped produce excellent angling on many waters, but on some it’s also resulted in an overabundance of stunted bass. To correct this problem the Fish and Wildlife Department has set special fishing regulations on certain ponds and rivers to encourage anglers to keep at least some of their catch. Waters with liberal regulations can still offer great fishing, and there’s no better way to end a successful day than with a good old-fashioned fish fry. Especially when you know it’s helping the fishery.
Vermont Fisheries Biologist Shawn Good demonstrates how to cut a completely boneless fillet from a freshly caught bass. This technique applies to yellow perch, crappie and other popular fish.
Pan-Fried Bass Fillets (as shown in the video)
Submitted by Shawn Good
I love to cook, but most of my cooking is done "by eye." Drives my wife crazy because she likes to measure ingredients. But in general, this is what I do:
- 2 parts flour
- 1 part cornmeal
- 1 part Italian bread crumbs
So, for instance, 1 cup of flour, ½ cup cornmeal, and ½ cup bread crumbs. You can adjust as needed depending on the amount of fish you need to bread.
Then I add (to desired taste, you can add or leave out anything you like):
- Red chili flakes
- Dried parsley
- Fresh ground black pepper
Again, I grab each spice bottle and shake away until it "just looks right." But I put only a little red chili flakes, more parsley than anything, and paprika too. The Italian bread crumbs I use already has oregano in it, and I do add more but not too much.
Once the breading is mixed, I put it in a bowl, and crack 1 or 2 eggs into a second bowl with a splash of milk and beat them (like you would for scrambled eggs). I then take my fish fillet, dip it in the egg wash, then dredge it in the breading mixture, put it on the plate and keep going until all fillets are breaded. I do this while the oil is heating up.
Add the fillets to the pan of oil leaving some space between each fillet. Cook them until they are golden brown, about two minutes per side. Remove from the pan and place on a paper towel. And then serve.
Fish Cakes with Chipotle Mayonnaise
Shawn Good - Vermont Fisheries Biologist
- 1 pound bass or perch filets
- 2 medium potatoes
- 1 cup bread crumbs
- ¼ cup chopped parsley
- 2 tbsp. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. pepper
- 2 eggs, beaten lightly
- Peanut oil or other high-smoke point oil, such as canola for frying
- Chipotle mayonnaise
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- ½ cup sour cream
- 1/8 tsp. oregano leaves
- 2 chipotle peppers (smoked, canned in adobo sauce) finely chopped
Mix all ingredients except fish and potatoes. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, about one hour. Boil and mash the potatoes, set aside. Boil the fish until it flakes easily. Drain, then flake with a fork. Be sure to remove all bones.
Mix the flaked fish, potatoes and the rest of the ingredients together by hand. If the mixture is too crumbly, add another egg. If it’s too sticky, add more bread crumbs. Form the mixture into cakes and fry them on medium high heat in a skillet coated with oil. Makes 12 fish cakes.
Enjoy a glass of wine with a couple who have decided to spend their retirement years learning how to nurture and blend cold-climate grapes from their own, young vineyard on Vermont’s Grand Isle into award-winning wines.
Taking a walk in the woods can be more than just a time to experience the pretty sights and sounds of nature. The outdoors is a treasure trove of wild plants that are not only good to eat but can be used for medicinal purposes. The trick is to know what you are picking before you eat it. Host Marianne Eaton joins wild edibles expert Colleen Jones at Merck Forest and Farmland Center for their Wild Edibles Walk that culminates in a wild edible luncheon.
- Colleen Jones, 802-375-6441
- Merck Forest & Farmland Center
|Colleen Jones' Dandelion Linguini (Crock-Pot Recipe)|
2 lbs dandelion greens
For many outdoorsmen, spring in Vermont is like Christmas morning for a 5-year-old kid. You anticipate it for months, and when it finally arrives you want to jump right in with both feet. And there's a lot to enjoy. The spring woods have much to offer and the fishing is the best of the year. For at least one Vermonter, the perfect spring day is a morning spent picking morel mushrooms followed by an afternoon of casting to native brook trout. Morel pickers can be as secretive about their spots as upland bird hunters are about their favorite woodcock covers. So it was a real treat when my good friend Leighton Wass invited us to share with him a perfect spring day.
Almost everyone is familiar with wild edibles, such as berries and fiddleheads, yet our region is home to dozens of species of wild edibles that are far more flavorful and nutritious than what you could buy in your local grocery store. These plants are nature’s organics and can be found right in your own backyard. So join us as we embark on a foraging adventures and learn to identify the delicacies founding Nature’s larder.
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