Individual taste in books varies as much as the favorite rod or fly. With that in mind, we hope to review books and videos from the ever-growing fly fishing world, and share them with you. Books will be the best of all worlds, new and old. Many of the old books are now available in reprint, and the wisdom contained is timely today. Others can be found in second-hand book stores, or by mail order dealers. As we find videos we feel are outstanding they will be included. Be assured, reviews are based on what we have actually read, and due to that fact, may not appear weekly.

March 16th, 1998

Classic Freshwater Fish Cooking
Written by Eileen Clarke
Published by Voyageur Press



Eileen Clarke is a rare woman. The long-time cooking columnist for Field & Stream has written more on cooking wild things than anyone in my memory. Classic Freshwater Fish cooking follows the Freshwater Fish Cookbook and The Venison Cookbook. She also co-authored, with Sil Strung, The Art of Wild Game Cooking. For those who have not been discouraged by the political incorrectness of hunting, the Wild Game book is the only book containing the proper (and safe) methods of dressing and preserving meat in the field. It is full of tips, and warnings of what happens if you don't take care of game properly.

Classic cooking means those methods of cooking fish through history and the methods most used by the big name restaurants. This is a book for those who love to fish and who love to cook. There are nearly 100 time-tested, crowd-pleasing, lip-smacking recipes for cooking walleye, bass, northern pike, trout and more. All recipes are made from easy-to-find ingredients and use simple preparation methods, so both beginners and experts will find delicious, fast, and easy options for cooking freshwater fish.

One of the advantages Eileen Clarke has in writing a cookbook on wildgame or fish is she is both a hunter and angler. And not an amateur either. Read her discriptions of the places and reasons to fish. Droll over the wonderful photographs of angling as well as the food.

If you have a Rainbow Trout like the one shown on the cover, this is the classic recipe for it.

Trout Almondine
Yield: 4 servings

"Make trout almondine at home on a cold winter's night, or stash a handful of almonds, a lemon, and a couple of springs of parsley in the cooler next time you go on an overnight fishing trip. This dish may sound snooty and continental, but it cooks up quickly over a campfire, Coleman stove, or your kitchen range.

Ingredients

  • 2 trout, 12 inches (30cm) long each
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) flour
  • 4 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 4 ounces (100 g) silvered almonds
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, about 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Cooking

  1. "Rinse the trout in cold water and shake gently to remove excess moisture. Do not dry the trout. Lightly sprinkle the inside of the trout with salt and pepper to taste, then dust the outside with the flour and set aside.
  2. "In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium-high heat until the butter is hot but not darkening, and quickly brown both sides of the trout. Then lower the heat and cook the trout 10-12 minutes, turning once. Drain the cooked trout and place on a heated platter.
  3. "Melt the rest of the butter in the skillet over medium heat and add the slivered almonds. Shake the pan back and forth until the almonds are golden brown. Add the lemon juice and chopped parsley, and remove from the heat. Stir gently, then spoon over the trout and serve immediately. Serve with boiled new potatoes, and if you like lots of lemon, slice the second half of that freshly squeezed lemon into wedges.

"Note: If you think flour, cornmeal, and other dry coatings are just adding flavor and calories to your fish, think again. There are few things harder to get totally dry than a trout. If you didn't roll the fish in something powdery and dry to soak up all the microscopic droplets of water, you would be in grave danger from oil flareups in the pan. Fish are best cooked at high temperatures, and hot oil on your skin is quite painful."

If that one doesn't sell the book, you will miss neat things like Bass Jumbalaya, Lemony Stuffed Walleye Rolls, Fried Catfish and Hush Puppies, Fish Cakes Baltimore ...

Did I mention there is even a section on freezing and thawing fish? This really is a terrific book, if the truth be known, one to leave out on the coffee table. It's a great conversation starter. ~ DB

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