You've had a rip-roaring day at the working end of a rod and reel, and now you're back in the galley of your boat or RV. How can you create a dazzling fish feast in this miniature kitchen with the least fuss, time and clean-up?
Put the pressure on.
A pressure cooker can produce a big bowl of buttered, boiled potatoes quicker than you could bake them in a microwave. Make fish chowder even quicker. If you're short on burners, bring rice up to full pressure, then set it aside, covered with a towel or two. By the time the pressure returns to normal, the rice will be hot, fluffy, and fully cooked.
Don't quit smoking.
A stove-top smoker brings ordinary fish into the exotic, gourmet realm. Bring a variety of wood chips: apple, cherry, mesquite, hickory. Each creates a different taste, so you can have a different fish every night. If the catch is small, smoke it and mash it into cream cheese, add a dash of hot sauce, and you have a jim-crack cracker spread.
If life hands you a lemon
, have a small, sharp reamer for making juice, plus a good lemon zester. Buy a yard of white or yellow nylon net and cut in into 12-inch squares. Lay half a lemon in each square, bring up the corners, tie with string or ribbon, and place one on each plate so diners can season their own fish to taste. It's more than just a fancy garnish. As you squeeze, the net strains out the seeds. Net is inexpensive; consider these "lemon aids" disposable.
Discover foil packet cooking for the oven or grill and you'll never have to wash a pan again. Fish steams to perfection in its own juices. Add tomatoes, peppers and onions to create a sauce Provencal, a cream soup to make a smooth sauce or sherry and fresh herbs to invent a new recipe. Fill another packet with scrubbed, sliced potatoes and onions to grill for a side dish with the fish. Flash a knife. Good cooks know the importance of having the best knives and keeping them sharp. Get a good fillet knife in addition to basic kitchen knives, and a good sharpener.
A task for a basket.
Get a grill basket so you can turn fish on the grill without it falling apart. Get a second one for vegetables.
Give me fever.
Perfect fish fries start with a thermometer that tells you when the fat is hot enough to flash-seal the batter and quick-cook the fish inside it. Fat that is too hot could catch fire. Too cool, and it makes for soggy, fatty fish.
Staples to Keep on Hand
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- Bread or cracker crumbs, or your favorite breading mix
- Beer and Bisquick to make batter
- Cooking oil and plenty of it
- Herb mixes for your favorite dishes (blackened, fish boil, Italian, Old Bay, Cajun, etc.)
- Fresh, clean, newspaper for serving fish and chips English style (put a sheet of clean paper towel between the food and the newspaper if you're fastidious).
- Canned tuna, shrimp, crab, clams to add to a small catch to make chowder
- Low-fat mayo for "buttering" fish before dredging in crumbs or flour. It's less messy to use than egg dip, and has fewer calories.
- Bottled tartar sauce and shrimp sauce
- Soy sauce (great for marinating tuna, mackerel and other oily fish).
- Nonstick spray for the grill, frypan, grill basket (try different flavors)
- Disposable plastic gloves for mess-free batter dipping
Groene's books include Living Aboard, ABCs of Boat Camping, Creating Comfort Afloat, Great Eastern RV Trips, Natural Wonders of Ohio, and Cooking Aboard Your RV.
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