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F4F Returns (And Sea Creatures Everywhere are Nervous)

Fried Fish Fillet

A garage sale is a marvelous thing. I’ve hosted a few, but they don’t seem to work out so well for me. The last one I nearly broke even, but some of the earlier attempts were disastrous. I also learned that in-laws are nice to have around for the holidays, but don’t let them organize your garage sale for you. (And for dang sure don’t let Uncle Elwood mind the cash box or the beer cooler.) I’m still not sure who got the riding lawnmower, and don’t get me started about the living room furniture. At least we still got the big-screen…

Mom’s always finding the most interesting things at garage sales. Knife sharpeners; full sets of expensive china; voodoo dolls. Stuff like that. She even brought home this curious appliance once, in a plain brown box and marked Adults Only. (Or maybe it was PJ; I forget.) Anyways, there wasn’t any instructions, so we just use it to scare the cats. Works, too.

Sometimes Mom finds cookbooks. Like recently, when she came across a copy of the NAFC Members’ Cookbook, 1996 Edition. (If you don’t know what NAFC stands for, then I guess I’ll have to tell you: North American Fishing Club.) It’s how to cook the fish, the whole fish, and nothing but the fish.

Most of these recipes are dirt-simple. Okay, none of them call for dirt, exactly. But simple they surely are. For instance, here’s how to prepare Pan-Fried Fillets of Fish (by Jerry Solberg of Weyauwega, WI):

Take a pound of fish fillets; 1 tablespoon each mayo and milk; 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper; a cup of fine cracker crumbs; and oil for frying. Blend mayo, milk, salt and pepper. Dip fillets in mayo mix, then into the cracker crumbs, and be sure to coat all sides well. Get out your big skillet and heat the oil over moderate heat. Add fish and fry, turning once, until fish is golden brown on both sides. Serve with lemon wedges, tartar sauce, mayo or salsa.

Simple, eh?

If that’s too complicated, try Tom Bennett’s method (he’s from North Pole, Arkansas, the coldest spot in Bill Clinton’s home state): Soak a half pound of fish fillets in a cup of sour cream overnight in the fridge. Roll the fillets in bread crumbs and fry in a hot frying pan with almost no oil until the fish is fork-tender.

Sorry, folks, I can’t make it any easier than that. Even Long John Silver’s takes more effort.

This little book of recipes is quite a find. It’s hard-bound, with several recipes on each pair of pages. No illustrations to speak of (other than fishermen with Really Big Fish; I suspect an early version of Photoshop), with clear, two-color typography and a pleasing layout. Recipes are generally organized by type of fish, after a selection from the staff and a section simply called “Catch of the Day.” I’ll be exploring the book in depth (Get it? In Depth? Man, Leno better get ready to move on…) for more F4F ideas.

At least it’ll keep me away from the garage sales…

Enjoy the (Simple Fried Fish) Heat!

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