The Fisherman and the Pescetarian

Presenting our first guest blogger, and it's none other than my husband, Casey!  He is the reason we have frequently have freshly caught salmon, steelhead, crab, and many other ocean creatures on our table.  I came home from working to find this meal on the table, hot and ready to eat.  I'm thankful for him for many reasons, but his fishing skill is one of the biggies.

A fisherman and a pescetarian: match made in heaven (or the Pacific Northwest)!

I'll let him tell you about the amazing treats he made with his latest catch: steelhead.

A nice 7-12lb steelhead can feed our family of 3 for a few nights, maybe even a week if we go sparingly (though that is never really the case).  We have to get a little creative on presenting new dishes that Natalie will continue to enjoy.  Enter that perennial favorite, crispy, crunchy fish and chips.  But isn't steelhead too oily?  Doesn't the flavor overwhelm?  After tasting these Steelhead Nugget, your answers will be no and no.

I didn't use a recipe, just plain lucked out I suppose.  Plus I've had my share of good and bad fish and chips in my day to give me a general concept and basic understanding of how to get started.  Call it intuition (or hunger), but I think that I tried a few tricks that helped to create the perfect Nugget.  I truly believe the milk/brown sugar/salt and pepper marinade is the key to these not coming out oily.  It helps the fry mixture to adhere, and the panko crumbs add the perfect texture. 

Fresh Steelhead or Salmon Nuggets

1 lb fresh salmon or steelhead
1/2 c milk (I used fat free actually)
salt & pepper
1 T brown sugar
1 egg
Fry Batter (I used a pre-made Old Bay version, save yourself time & energy by using a tried and true)
1/2 c panko bread crumbs
Canola oil for frying

Start by removing the salmon/steelhead fillet from the skin and removing the pin bones.  Cut into 1 1/2-2 inch cubes and place in a Ziploc bag and add milk, brown sugar, a good pinch of high quality sea salt, and pepper.  Squeeze the air out of the bag and place into the refrigerator for 30 mins. and while you prepare the "station".  Place the dry fry batter mixture into a shallow bowl.  In another dish, beat the egg.  Add a splash of milk to the egg and mix, add salt and pepper to taste.  In the last dish place panko bread crumbs. 

Get your oil nice and hot (look for a sheen to appear on the surface) in a deep, heavy pan.  Cover a plate with a paper towels for cooked fish to drain.  Take your pieces of fish and dredge them in the fry mixture.  Once they are coated evenly, shake off excess and transfer to eggwash, and then roll them well in the panko crumbs until completely covered.  

Carefully lower the fish into the hot oil to fry, being careful not to overcrowd.  After about 3-4 minutes (they will be golden brown on the bottom) flip over, and finish until the other side is the same color (about another 3-4 minutes).  Transfer to the paper towel covered plate to drip.  

That's it.  Easy.  Delicious.

Crack open an ice cold brew, Alaskan Amber would be an excellent choice, plate with some fries and set out the condiments.  

Give it a try!  Make them for children, or impress your friends.  And the next time the kids want chicken nuggets, think about all of the beneficial omega 3's you will get from eating freshly caught salmon or steelhead. If you don't have a fisherman, you can get fresh caught in any of the fish markets or farmer's markets.  

Everyone at our house loved Steelhead Nuggets... just look at that clean plate and smile.

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