Deep Fry Done Easy: It’s What to do with all those bottomfish!!!

Spring is upon us and with it lingcod, rockfish and halibut seasons.

So, if you’ve still got fish in the freezer… You, my friend have a problem that is probably starting to look more like Styrofoam than fresh fish.

Fortunately, there is a much better solution than deeming the contents of your freezer “Crab bait”. My advice to you is to start thawing and deep frying immediately!!!
There’s just something about the crispy, golden appearance, the white, flaky texture and the taste…oh, man, the taste… There’s no question, if you want to get rid of a whole bunch of fish fast, just break out the deep fryer and have at it!

The problem is, some folks are a little shy about the whole process of preparing, breading and gettin’ their deep-fry on! Well, it’s not as complicated as you may think. There is some prep time involved but when you get to taste the final product, I think you’ll agree that it’s time well spent!

Let’s talk ingredients and it all starts with the raw material. If your fish is showing a bit of freezer burn it’s easy to trim a little bit and discard the dry, white edges. The rest of the ingredients are as follows for a three-pound mess of white fish:

Deep fryer or stove top pot with a gallon of 350-degree peanut or canola oil
Salt, pepper, garlic powder in shakers
One cup of white flour
Four eggs
One cup of milk
Panko Rice breading
Franks Red Hot Sauce (Buffalo Wing flavoring)

Cut your fish up in similar size chunks for even cooking. I like to prepare 3″ x 2″ squared off pieces. Exact size in not important but uniform size certainly is! Place the chunks on paper towels to begin the drying process.

Change the paper towels and salt & pepper the fish liberally (garlic powder optional) . Flip the chunks on yet another new sheet of paper towels and season the other side as well.

Flour the chunks and place on a cookie sheet as now the fish should be dry enough to allow the flour to remain powdery (not wet) on the surface.

Set up a little assembly line for the egg wash (eggs & milk) and then the Panko rice breading.

Mix the eggs & milk together and take the seasoned, floured chunks into the egg wash and then immediately into the Panko.

With the oil at 350 degrees, drop the breaded chunks into the oil and cook until golden brown which is usually less than three minutes. You’ll notice the Franks Red Hot sauce which is just killer on the smaller chunks and results in a treat known as Buffalo ‘But around the Nelson house! Just sprinkle the Frank’s over the fish immediately as it comes out of the fryer and the hot, active surface really helps spread the sauce around nicely!

When you’re all done, you will notice that suddenly you are not alone in the kitchen. Your cooking pan will briefly look like this but for some reason will rapidly empty!

Is this the only breading/ deep fry recipe there is??? Heck no! However, this is an easy process that is tasty and the Panko breading soaks up very little oil so it’s better for you than heavy batter methods.

While I have done mega batches of fried fish with the turkey cooker over propane as well as on the stove top with a large Revere Ware pot, the easiest temperature control and most consistent results come with a true deep fryer such as the Rival Digital Fryer.

With a little practice and a lot of fish you can turn out some amazing results and unbelievably tasty fish!

Well,… what are you waiting for??? Get frying!!!

Tom Nelson The Outdoor Line 710 ESPN Seattle www.theoutdoorline.com

Northwest Outdoor Report

Nice Weather and More Trout on Opening Day
Good weather and big trout helped to boost catch rates on opening day of trout season last weekend. WDFW planted bigger trout this year on average the statewide catch rate soared to an average of 3.99 trout per person the opener. The top three producers in the state were Ellen Lake in Ferry County where anglers averaged 5 trout apiece, Warden Lake in Grant County with 5 trout apiece, and Panther Lake in Kitsap County with 4.6 trout apiece. The department expects good trout fishing to continue on many of the planted lakes until well into June.

Puget Sound Lings on the Bite
Nick Kester from All Star Charters (425-252-4188) said it took him longer to catch bait this week than it did to catch his limit of lingcod every day. He and partner Gary Krein have been fishing Possession Bar and getting limits of Puget Sound ling cod every day using live sand dabs.

Cowlitz Springers Slow
Todd Daniels from Tall Tails Guide Service (206-437-8766) has been picking up a few spring Chinook on the Cowlitz, but overall he reports that springer fishing has been noticeably slow. Todd thinks the fishing will improve if and when the river drops down to 5500 to 6500 cfs again. The springers he’s caught so far this season have fallen to either a Cowlitz cocktail or wrapped Kwikfish.

Last Razor Clam Dig of the Season
Twin Harbors beach between Gray’s Harbor and Willapa Bay is open Saturday, Sunday, and Monday for the last razor clam dig of the season. The tides for the digs are all morning tides and check the WDFW regulations for more information about the open digging area.

Cougar Killed in Seattle Neighborhood
The Seattle Times reported that a cougar that recently wandered into the Kennewick neighborhood of Seattle had to be killed Wednesday when it ended up in a tree in someone’s back yard. Officials from WDFW said the cat weighed about 110 pounds and appeared to be a young male that had wandered into the neighborhood during the night looking for food. Since the area was surrounded by houses and an apartment complex the state had no choice but to kill the animal.

Ruger and Cabela’s Report Big Profits
Not every sector of the American economy is on the fritz. Sturm, Ruger and Co. reported profits for the first quarter of this year that were nearly double last year’s profits. Following suit was Cabela’s who reported that its first quarter profit soared 62 percent as strong retail sales of outdoor gear and sporting goods offset a decline in online and catalog sales.

Rob Endsley
The Outdoor Line
710 ESPN Seattle
www.theoutdoorline.com