It's that time of year again where everyone with a boat and a trailer is migrating north to their favorite fishing spot for the weekend. When I was a kid I remember my mom and dad packing up the Impala station wagon with what seemed like way too much stuff for a three day fishing trip. For opener we would head north to "Winnie", arrive in the morning and as we pulled into the public access at the narrows, it looked like we were at the State Fair... except everyone was usually wearing snowmobile suits. People, boats, trailers, tents, and campers were everywhere and not one square inch of the campground went unused. In the water on the "Cutfoot" side of the bridge, boats were stacked so close together that if anyone were to fall out of the boat, they would land in the boat next to them. The cold days of the early season fishing opener yielded nice big fat walleye and lots of them... Things have changed, but one thing still remains as the cornerstone of the fishing season and that's the Fish Fry. Every family has their traditions and every tradition is as different as the coating on their fish... all you need is friends, family, and some fish.
Oh, and don't forget the tartar sauce!
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Fish Fry Recipe
Panko bread crumbs (my preference for walleye, perch, panfish)
Fresh lemon wedges for serving
- Remove the bones and pat dry the fish with paper towels. I also use this time to size the xfilets so that small go with small and larger with larger, which really helps in the frying. I xalso split the thicker filet down the middle to get uniform sizes.
- Mix eggs and milk together at 50/50 ratio
- Dip each filet into the egg wash and then immediately into panko, pressing down on xeach side of the filet as you turn it over and drag crumbs up the sides for complete
xcoverage. Place filets on a sheet tray with the layers separated by wax or parchment paper.
-Cook fish in canola oil at 350 degrees- but not too long, most people tend to over cook xtheir fish. Run a small test batch to see how fast they are cooking. Be careful not to xovercrowd the fryer or pan which lowers the cooking temp and makes for soggy fish. If xyou don't have a fryer, any sturdy pan will do. I use a square cast iron pan and have used xit in Canada on a campfire, in Texas on a grill and in China on a hot plate to fry fish.
Fish Coating Options
- Corn flake crumbs: give all fish a sweeter flavor; be careful as they tend to burn easily
- Ritz Cracker crumbs: similar to corn flake crumbs
- Saltine crumbs: old fashioned neutral option
- Triscuit crumbs: many flavor options and also great for broiled fish
- Panko bread crumbs: super crunchy, easy to use, don't add or take away from fish flavor
- Flour: a light option (note: people tend to eat more fish with less coating)
- AlCorn Meal: for catfish only; as they say down south, "anything else just ain't right"
Tartar Sauce Recipe
- Mayonnaise: some prefer half mayo and half salad dressing
- Pickle relish or diced pickles of your choice and cider vinegar
- Onion, diced (small): if you use red onion soak in vinegar to reduce sharpness
- Salt and pepper
- Lemon juice
Wild rice salad
Remember that leftovers make for great fish sandwiches!