Serve up the bounty of Canada’s frozen lakes
Matthew Kadey, MSc, RD
What better way to embrace the winter chill than by serving up some of the greatest gifts our frozen lakes have to offer? Canadian lake fish are nutritious and, when prepared with these recipes, offer up a guaranteed way to reel in a plate of yum.
Visit a tropical nation and show them a photograph of you ice fishing and they very well could say: “Crazy Canuck.” But when we live in a winter nation, why not truly embrace all of the seasons? What better way than with ice fishing—and delicious fish recipes? Ice fishing is not only a great excuse to get outdoors when temperatures are plummeting, presenting a unique fishing experience, but also a way to net yourself a bounty of the nutritious and tasty swimmers that Canada’s lakes offer the hard-water angler. And once you arrive home with your catch, these recipes are guaranteed to make it even more tempting to layer up once again and grab your fishing pole.
After your feast, don’t compost the fish carcasses. You can use them to make homemade fish stock. Simply simmer with aromatics like onions, along with extras such as herbs and chopped carrots, and use the resulting stock for fish soups and stews.
Ideally, you want to clean fish within a couple of hours of being brought onto land. Fish can spoil quickly after they perish. It’s also best to keep fish somewhat wet until they are scaled. It’s harder to remove scales if the skin has dried out. If this has occurred, soaking the fish in ice water for a few minutes can make the scales easier to remove. Your catch of the day should be placed in a cooler full of ice for transport to maintain freshness.
Any old knife won’t get the job done when it comes to cleaning and filleting a fish. Ideally, you want to use a thin, flexible, very sharp knife designed for the specific purpose of filleting fish. This type of knife makes it easier to cleanly cut the meat away from the bones. But any long, thin, sharp knife in your kitchen will work. Don’t employ a serrated knife, as it will shred the delicate flesh.