One of the best ways to assure the very best taste of your fish is to kill it immediately after landing it. Throw away the fish chain and any containers that just hold water. Just don’t use them. Both of these sources will encourage the fish to spoil.
The water box should be replaced with crushed ice and the fish chain with a small club to kill the fish immediately after landing the fish. Do not keep a fish in a water box and later let it go, as doing so, you have given it a death sentence.
Next, clean the fish to assure no bacteria spreads throughout the flesh. Unfortunately, fish are covered with bacteria – on the inside and out. Always remove the gills of the fish as the gills will hasten spoilage of the good taste of your catch. Next in line is to get the fish into an ice box of crushed ice, to keep it cool.
Keeping the fish rigid is the key to keeping the good taste in – from the cooler to the pan it will give you the ultimate taste. Once the flesh softens and the odour becomes very noticeable, the fishing trip may have all been in vain.
If you are not going to use it, release it immediately. Another factor: do not handle a fish by the gills that you will release as damaging the gills is another death blow to the fish.
After gutting the fish or filleting, wash the flesh with clean water to remove all the blood and other waste. If possible, freeze it or get it on crushed ice as soon as possible. One suggestion to all fishermen and hunters is to purchase one of the latest wrap and sealing machines. The unit gets all the air out of the sealed plastic bag, preventing freezer burn.
Broiled Arctic Char Steaks
One of the best char recipes I ever had was passed on to me by Gary Hill of Atlin. He is one of the best fishing guides I have ever known – both in Ontario and north of 60.
2 pounds of char steaks
1 chopped onion
2 Tbsp lemon juice
¼ tsp tarragon
1 tsp salt
A dash of pepper
¼ cup melted butter
A dash of paprika
A dash of parsley
Put your fish on a greased broiler pan. Mix the following: onion, lemon juice, tarragon, salt and pepper into the melted butter. Baste the steaks with half of the sauce and then broil them about 3 inches from the heat.
Once browned, turn the steak over and baste the other side with the remainder of the sauce. Broil for 10 more minutes per inch of steak.
Finish this off by sprinkling the parsley and paprika over the steaks.
Atlin Milk Baked Trout
A 5 pound lake trout, prepared for baking
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
1 cup milk (at least 2%)
5 Tbsp melted butter
1 Tbsp lemon juice
Rub inside of fish with salt. Dust with pepper. Put fish in a baking pan, add milk and bake for about 50 minutes at 350ºF or until fish flakes with a fork (this point is important).
The milk will evaporate and the steam of such will go into the fish, creating a good moisture. Carefully remove fish to a hot plate assuring that you do not break the fish.
Remove the skin from the fish and carefully remove the bones.
Combine the melted butter with the lemon juice and pour over the fish.
A note in cooking fish
Do not overcook fish in any manner. It will be done once the flesh will flake. This is when the fish is at its most tender, best taste.