Stickie’s latest musings on fish

Cooking great fish in Sacramento with Hank Shaw and Mickey Melchiondo.

It is fish cooking season. Whether you are pulling trout out of a lake, stripers out of the American, or chartering a boat to chase big catches like Chinook salmon, a lot of you out there have fish to fry. Or griddle. Or…. poach.

In the past day, two of my favorite angling writers posted killer fish recipes, which I have included after the jump. One is simple: How to sear a fish, as told by Sacramento’s own Hank Shaw. The other is an East Coast recipe for Striped Bass Cakes, which Captain Mickey Melchiondo says are five times as good as crab cakes.

If you don’t know who Hank Shaw is, yet enjoy the link between great, honest food and our beautiful Northern California landscape, you are missing out. Hank was been nominated twice for a Frank Beard Award and has received high praise for his book Hunter Gather Cook: Finding the Forgotton Feast (which is 50% off in print or on Kindle at Amazon.) Here is his brief instructional video which was picked up today by The Village Voice and The Sac Rag:

Mickey’s Guide Service
cruises the Delaware River and beyond for a variety of big fish. Every week, I am bombarded with images such as this striped bass:

and this:

He also comes from an old school Italian family that loves to eat, so he is my go to guy for new fishy ideas and recipes. Now, I just have to find a 5 pound bass filet.

Striper Cakes (stolen from Mickey’s Guide Service)

“This is one of the best recipes I know of, you can’t get this in any restaurant.” – Mick

5lb Striped Bass fillet
3 raw eggs
1/2 large green pepper
1 small white onion
3/4 cup unseasoned bread crumbs
3 cloves minced fresh garlic
3 tablespoons chopped Fresh basil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
3 tablespoons Dijon Mustard
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning

Cut all of the red meat out of the fish, I mean all of it, this is the part that tastes fishy.

Bring a pot of salted water to a rolling boil, then boil the striped bass for about 8 minutes, and immediately transfer the fillets into an ice water bath to stop them from cooking. This will keep the fish from overcooking once you are finished boiling it, and helps it maintain a firm consistency. Hold the fillets in the ice water bath for approx. 10 minutes.

While the striper is chilling, finely mince the green pepper, onion, garlic and basil. Combine the vegetables and garlic with the rest of the ingredients, except the fish, in a large mixing bowl. Once the striper is finished chilling, cut it into small pieces (imagine pieces of crab in a crab cake, around the size of a cigarette filter), not giant chunks.

Make small hamburger sized patties out of the mixture, sprinkle them lightly with Old Bay, and then pan fry them in olive oil on medium high heat approx. 4 minutes per side or until nice and dark brown (don’t burn them!). When they are finished squeeze a little bit of fresh lemon over the top of them and serve them.

You can also take extra uncooked patties and give them away or wrap them in wax paper then in a Ziploc freezer bag.

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