So Fresh and So Clean

I think that most of you have been reading this blog long enough to know by now that, when possible, I like to use fresh, local ingredients in my cooking. You also probably know that I try hard to be up for anything, whether it’s eating bugs, taking on strange stink-fruit, or just traveling all the way to Quincy(!) for a meal. Recently both Mr. Menace and I were involved in meal that truly capitalized on both of these traits!

You see, Mr. Menace’s family have a boat, which they utilize off of Cape Cod throughout the summer. They are also very kind and generous and invite us to take part in the use of said boat. (Thank you, Sheila and Rich, for all that you share with us!) Do not misunderstand, however; this boat is not a party boat. It is not used to take leisurely sunset cruises around the harbor. This is a serious boat, a working boat, and the work that it does is fishing! Mr. Menace’s mum is perhaps the best fisherwoman I have ever heard of, and her prey is the striped bass.

Now, each summer we head down to join his family on the Cape, and to frolic in the sun, and each summer there is a trip out on the boat to try to catch some bass. Unfortunately, while I love time with family and being on the Cape, I’m not really a big fan of the fishing – I tend to get a bit queasy as the boat goes in and out of the harbor, and pale redhead that I am, sitting in the sun for several hours is a terrible idea. Yet I like the idea of being involved in this process in some way, of contributing to the hunt. So it was decided that this year, while I would not board the boat, if Mr. Menace caught anything, I would learn to clean it! This was something I was excited for – I always loved the dissection labs in school. (Yes, I was a weird kid.)

So off they went for a trip to see what could be caught, while I went for a ten-mile run (because I know how to have a good time on vacation!). By the time I’d gotten home, showered, and dozed off in the hammock, the gang had returned, bearing these:
(The one on top is sad to be dead.)

Both were caught by Mr. Menace!

The gents showed me what to do on the smaller fish, and then I got the chance to have the big one to myself.
(See what I mean about me and the sun? NO GOOD.)

I cut behind the head, and sliced up the belly, being careful not to puncture any organs.
Then down the back:
Then gently sliding the knife through to get at the good stuff!

Off with the skin:

Finally a lovely fillet!

Rather proud of my work and Mr. Menace’s fishing skills, we decided to have folks over for a proper fry-up with our fish. This is the Mister’s favorite way to eat bass – it’s quite simple, although you have to be ready to deal with large quantities of hot oil. This is best done in a FryDaddy, if you have one. If not, be very, very careful and use the deepest pan that you own. First, make sure your fish is super clean:

Next, dredge your fish in flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs. We used panko because it gives you the lightest, crunchiest coating.

Drop the pieces in the FryDaddy! Do this in batches lest the oil bubble up and coat your entire kitchen in terrifying molten grease.

Don’t those look fantastic? And they were, crisp and light! I made up a quick batch of tartar sauce to eat them with, but they were pretty great as is, too. They’re sitting in that picture on top of squash that our friends The Goog and Elise brought from their garden, which I roasted along with my favorite brussels sprouts in order to temper the number of fried things we were eating. The squash continued the local theme nicely, and was very tasty.
While we had the fryer going, Mr. Menace whipped up some french fries and his patented onion rings:

I can’t even really begin to tell you how he gets them so beautifully golden and crisp – it’s really just egg, flour, and possibly magic. They are best eaten ridiculously hot, straight out of the fryer.

All in all, it was a lovely meal, made all the more delicious for being the product of our own work! Do any of you hunt or fish? If so, what do you like to make from your efforts?


3 responses to “So Fresh and So Clean

  1. Oh nom!!!! Memories……

  2. ooooh, gory AND delicious!

  3. I love the blood and guts! You rock!

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