Fish as Food – Flathead Beacon


I don’t cook a lot of fish. This is what happens if you let go of almost everything you catch.

Transform river fly fishing with catch and release now offers almost endless fun and enjoyment to anglers, while preserving Montana’s supply of wild trout.

Rivers aren’t the only place to fish in Montana, especially the Flathead, and the state’s lakes are generally managed for some level of catch. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is practically begging anglers to kill Mackinaw on Flathead Lake, and it is illegal to capture and release walleye anywhere in the Western Fishing District.

Of course, catching and eating walleye is kind of the goal of walleye fishing. The species reigns supreme when it comes to the culinary attributes of freshwater fish.

This is where “Hook, Line and Supper” comes in. fisherman’s friend are concerned – cookbook author and specialist in wild game.

I’m a little surprised that there aren’t any walleye recipes in the book, but it’s a bit over the top. Walleye will do the trick for just about any recipe that calls for firm, flaky white fish fillets. In the summer, my buddies and I love to fill a walleye wire fishing basket (not in the Western District, of course) and next year I’ll be using Shaw’s beer batter recipe when I will convert some of these walleyes into a real Montana basket. fish and chips.

Shaw discusses a recipe for walleye, Minot walleye, in honor of the North Dakota barley fields that inspired him. You can find the recipe on his James Beard Award winning website, Hunter Angler Gardener Cook.

Still, the book is packed with recipes, although according to Shaw’s practice it begins with a comprehensive guide to proper handling of your fish once it’s out of the water.

Shaw worked intermittently as a commercial fisherman for decades, when he wasn’t writing or working in restaurants. This experience pays off in “Supper”. Large fish, for example, should never be held by the tail as the weight of the fish can “tear flakes from the meat” creating gaping holes that make the fish look like they’ve been blundered.

He also cautions against letting the fish on the spars die slowly. He first stuns his fish by clubbing them on the head (he calls this wood shampoo) and then bleeds them by cutting off the gills and tail.

Then the fish return to the water for a merciful death, bleeding like Frank Pentangeli in “The Godfather II”.

I can only scratch the surface here, but if you’re looking for a course in safe and efficient fish handling, you need this book.

After preparing the fish well, Shaw then moves on to cooking. The usual suspects are covered here – frying, poaching, baking, smoking – backed up by clearly written, easy-to-follow recipes and stunning photographs by Shaw collaborator Holly Heyser. I made the Spanish clams and Shaw’s chorizo ​​the other night – the chorizo ​​here is the tough Spanish type, similar to salami – partly because I’ve always wondered about bivalve dishes with pork and also because of the fascinating story Shaw tells in the introduction to the recipe.

The origins of the dishes can be traced back to the Spanish Inquisition, where it was used to unmask Jews who had faked their conversion to Catholicism. If they were ready to eat shellfish and pork, they had to be true Christians.

I haven’t considered myself Catholic in decades, I’m not Jewish, I don’t like stories of oppression, and the sausages added to clams or steamed mussels seemed a bit over the top, a bit like the contemporary trend of chain restaurants to add bacon to everything. But the origin story of this delicious fusion of backyard and sea made perfect sense.

It’s even better.

Rob Breeding’s website is


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