Winter is the time for socializing around the wood-stove at the cabin or just in the living room at home. We all want to be warm and welcoming, but when people “just drop by” we get nervous about what we can feed them as far as snacks and appetizers are concerned.
Certainly there are lots of packaged items which we can keep in the freezer, but nothing beats something you can quickly whip up from your freezer full of wild game, birds and fish.
Fish, grouse breasts or any wild meat that isn’t very thick and sealed in a Ziploc can be thawed fairly quickly in a pot or sink of warm water. Half an hour at most usually has it ready to go.
Microwave thawing seems to be a science that I haven’t mastered, as everything is at least partly cooked when I am done and that is not good.
Arctic Grayling reportedly don’t freeze well, but are still readily available in open water such as Teslin River at Johnson’s Crossing. These tasty fish are great skinned and boned, cut into 1” squares, rolled in Shake & Bake Pork and deep fried. This also works for pike or burbot, which are more likely available in your freezer.
Thaw pike or burbot and cut into 1” wide strips, wrap in ½ cooked bacon. Marinade in Zesty Italian, Sun-Dried Tomato or any other of your favourite dressings and cook on the BBQ or broil in the oven.
Try pike or burbot fingers rolled in finely crushed Ritz crackers and deep fried. Any of the plastic jars of sprinkle on spices/flavour enhancers will work, depending on your taste buds.
Grouse breast slices can be used instead of fish and are delicious. Don’t listen to all the negative comments about spruce grouse, as they are delicious even late in the season when they eat what gives them their name.
Any of the big-game red meats cut in smaller pieces and marinated will please your guests and your own personal palate.
Sadly, ducks and geese are not common in Yukon freezers, but if you are fortunate enough to have some of your own – or as in my case, I have a friend in Alberta sends a cooler full every year – breasts from these critters can be deliciously used in the above described “bacon-wrapped” appies and nobody will say no to another one.
With sliced duck or goose breast appetizers, a chunk of pineapple included in the bacon wrap with your choice of sauce – hot, medium or mild – will take it over the top. Try a slice of apple or even a sliver of sweet potato instead of, or as well as, the pineapple.
After a few surprise visits by friends you’ll be wanting to try these and other quickly-made treats. Be adventurous.