Even though the ice floes still fill our northern lakes. The Minnesota Fishing Opener is here. Many still count summer from Memorial Day to Labor Day, but the adopted Ole in me counts it from fishing opener to State Fair. It just seems more natural. There's a saying in Spain that there are as many recipes for Paella as there are grandmothers. In the land of 10,000 lakes there are at least that many recipes for Shore Lunch. The one below, besides being my favorite (especially with the beer and Ritz crumbs option) is easy and simple enough to make in your kitchen at home or at the edge of a pristine lake at midday with your just caught bounty. Either way enjoy it often this year. It may be the only way we'll recognize summer.
Shore Lunch Walleye
4 med. skinless, boneless walleye filets 6-8 oz. each
1/4 cup water or beer, your choice
1 large egg
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups Ritz cracker crumbs or crushed Corn Flake crumbs
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp. Paprika
Vegetable oil (Corn or Canola or Solid Shortening)
Premix the dry ingredients in a zip lock bag at home
Beat the egg and liquid together at the campsite in a flat metal pie tin.
Meanwhile heat the oil in a heavy cast iron skillet over the coal. Fill the pan a little less than half full of oil or shortening. Make sure you have a stable surface to keep the pan level. A cooking grate is the best choice. Test the temperature of the oil with the handle of a wooden spoon. Dip the handle in oil, it will send of a stream of bubbles if the oil is in the 350-400 degree range…perfect for frying. The more bubbles, the hotter the oil.
Just before your ready to fry, make sure you have a landing spot for your cooked fish. A paper bag pressed flat is perfect for wicking away extra oil.
Dip the fish in the egg liquid then drop one at a time into the bag with the breading. Shake vigorously to coat. Lift the fish, shake off any excess and lay gently in the oil . Cook to deep golden brown on both sides. Lift from the oil and drain on the paper bag.
Hopefully someone else has roasted the corn or made a batch of excellent home fries to go with the fish. Squeeze plenty of lemon and dig in.