There are three sides to fishing,
all of them delightful. First there’s the pleasure of being out
in the countryside; then there are the uncertainties and excitement
of the actual fishing; and then comes the successful angler’s reward
– the joys of preparing and cooking a fish fresh from the water. We’ve
already looked at the first two aspects, so let’s now turn to the delights
of the table.
KEEP YOUR CATCH FRESH DURING THE
If you have caught a fish you intend
take home, perhaps several hours later, you will have to find a way of
keeping it fresh. The first thing to do is locate a cool place out of the
sun, perhaps under the moss, by a patch of bog on the banks of a stream.
This is what bears do, and we can too. However, before depositing your
catch, clean and dry the fish but do not wash it – water always contains
bacteria. Now wrap each fish individually in fresh leaves, preferably alder.
Failing alder, use birch. A twig of willow in the belly of each fish also
helps to keep them fresh. Store your catch in a woven basket or paper bag,
PREPARING AND RATING YOUR
CATCH BY THE WATER
Pike "Phoenix". Pike "Phoenix":
This is perhaps the commonest ways of dealing with a pike fresh from the
water – and it’s also one of the most delicious. This is what to do. First
catch a fine pike. Gut and clean the fish, leaving the skin and scales
intact. Stuff the belly with a mixture of good butter, salt, dill and horseradish.
(You may, of course, prepare this mixture at home. Make sure you have plenty.)
Meanwhile, you will have lit a good fire. Now rake a thick, damp newspaper,
a piece of greaseproof paper and make a parcel of your pike, making sure
the greaseproof paper is next to the skin. Put the fish to cook for half
an hour or so, turning it after 15 minutes. When the fish is done, serve
with freshly boiled new potatoes. A simple sauce of horseradish and crème
fraîche makes a nice accompaniment.
Poached grayling. Clean and
dry a couple of smallish grayling and cut them in pieces. Have a few small
potatoes on the boil, and after 10 minutes add the fish, salt, a few grains
of allspice and a pinch of thyme. For a really exotic wilderness taste,
add a few freshly emerged birch leaves (they look like mouse ears). Simmer
gently for 10 minutes, skimming as necessary.
A simple yet satisfying fish dish.
FISH FEAST AT HOME
Baked trout: What all cooks
aim for in preparing a fresh fish is to preserve as much of its natural
juiciness and flavour as possible. The following method is an infallible
way of doing just that and is perfect for trout (or any of the other salmonid
for that matter). Take a trout from one of the sparkling rivers or lakes
of the Ö-vik region. Then gut and clean the fish (leaving the head
on) and place it in an oven-proof dish without salt or any form of fat.
Set the oven to 100ºC and pop in the fish. A trout weighting 1 kilo
should cook for approximately 50 minutes. The low temperature will keep
in all the flavour and given the flesh just the right consistency. The
fish will also retain all its own salt, so add salt only if you feel you
have to. Serve on a bed of fresh green salad decorated with slices of lemon.
Cooked this way and accompanied by boiled potatoes and melted butter, your
trout will be a dish fit for a king.