Dick Pinney's Guidelines: Recipes for wild game and fish
We dolove to use whatever wild things that we harvest and have some great recipes for different types of wild game and fish that we're going to share. Let's start with fish, as a lot of our readers are catch-and-eat anglers and hunters.
If you have a trout or salmon that is about two pounds, this makes for some superior eating when grilled. We use a sandwich type of grill and do not fillet the fish but split it down the back, removing the backbone and the gills. We leave the head on and start the split from the nose to the tail, leaving that whole but on one side of the fish. Remove all the entrails in the process. This makes an impressive-looking dish when cooked.
Grill it skin-side down after sprinkling brown sugar and lemon juice on the flesh side as well as a few dashes of garlic powder. Salt and pepper to taste when served. You can tell the fish is done when a little bubbling of juices appear on the up-side of the fish or just pluck a small sample and try it.
For smaller trout and salmon, we like to just cut off the head, remove the entrails, roll in a mixture of flour and garlic powder and cook until the fish start to curl a bit using whatever cooking oil you prefer but for a deep-woods type of flavor, nothing beats bacon grease.
Fish that are from four pounds up, regardless of species, we like to fillet and skin. On a cookie lay out a cover of aluminum foil. Spray with cooking oil such as Spam (we like the olive oil version). In a food-saving-type plastic bag put in a half cup (more if you need it) of Ritz crackers and about a quarter cup of Cheese-Its. Roll with empty wine bottle or rolling pin until most of the crackers are in bits but don't worry about a few larger crumbs. We don't recommend emptying the wine bottles until you serve the fish so save some from the last time.
With a cooking brush, lay on a good coat of mayonnaise. Then a covering of the crushed crackers. A few sprinkles of garlic powder or salt to taste and add a few half-teaspoon-sized dabs of good creamery butter over much of the fillets. Cover lightly with foil - do not fold down sides and cook in a 350-degree oven for at least 30 minutes. Remove the foil and set over to broil to just barely brown up the crumbs. A few sprinkles of lemon juice to taste and or salt and pepper. If you want to add some real pizzazz to the fish, mix a tablespoon or so of prepared horseradish to the mayonnaise coating. Do not over cook!
Let's talk about wild game. Lots of us have wild game that has been in the freezer too long. Here's a recipe for wild game stew that will create a gourmet meal. Thaw out the meat and cut into very small pieces, about half-inch cubes. Sprinkle liberally with Adolph's non-seasoned tenderizer and set aside in the fridge for a day, occasionally stirring the meat.
Next day, in a larger than you think you need sauce pan, add about a half stick of good creamery butter to melt over medium heat. Know now that this recipe is not exact and doesn't need to be. Sautee the meat until it's all browned and remove from pan. Cut up about twice as much in volume, onion into inch size pieces and to this add about half that amount of green pepper and the same of celery. Do not add any water as you sautee all of these ingredients until they are translucent. To this add about the same amount of one-half-inch carrot rounds as you did green pepper and the same amount of peeled or unpeeled potato chunks. Cover and sautee until the carrots start to soften. Add the cooked meat back into the pan and just cover the ingredients with water or chicken or vegetable stock. We usually use about two teaspoons of kosher-type salt and about a teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper and a few sprinkles of ground (hot) red pepper flakes.
Bring to a boil and cook until carrots and potatoes are soft. Skim off about a half cup of liquid into a pint jar with cover and to that add enough corn starch to make a light sauce. Shake to make sure the cornstarch has been absorbed into the hot liquid then skim more hot liquid into the jar until mostly filled and then slowly and by stirring constantly, add this whole jarful of thickened liquid back into your stew pan to thicken up the whole stew.
Serve with crusty artisan bread. And some of that wine.
Dick Pinney's column appears weekly in the New Hampshire Sunday News. Email him at Doduckinn@aol.com.