Recently, during the lockdown phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, I acquired some fish fillets. I have scores of great recipes for preparing fish but my mind went back to one of the most exciting fishing trips I was ever on, to Canandaigua Lake, so far my most memorable fishing trip.
On this trip to the fourth largest Finger Lake, a woman who was on the staff of the R.T. French company and also worked with Widmer Wines tutored me on the easiest and tastiest ways to cook fish. She showed me some recipes for fixing the fish I caught quickly, deliciously and right at lakeside or on the camp stove.
They are especially good if you are into camping and fishing. Just pack a bottle of wine and some spices and aluminum foil and you can turn out gourmet meals with the fish you catch and in just a few minutes over a campfire, on a Coleman stove or a camp oven.
Over-cooking venison or fish is one of the most common mistakes we make when preparing them. Venison has no fat marbling its meat as beef does so if you overcook it, it will get dried and tough. Cook venison until you decide it needs just another minute or two to be done, and then take it off the stove.
Norinne Cole, the specialist who taught me these recipes said the challenge for the angler is in catching the fish but equally engaging should be the fun of making the catch into something so appetizing you double your enjoyment of the outdoors. With fresh caught fish, you start with one of nature’s choicest offerings. Cooking it with wine lends a delicious savoriness that’s practically one of the cornerstones of classic French cooking.”
If you are tentative about trying these recipes lakeside or at the campsite, try them our first at home. They are great on the backyard grill or a very quick supper meal. You’ll love them instantly, same as I did.
WINE GLAZED FISH FILLETS
2 lbs. fish fillets
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
Salt and pepper
One-fourth cup of slivered almonds
3 to 4 tablespoons Lake Niagara wine
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
Cook fish in butter in large skillet about five minutes, turning once, until lightly browned and fish flakes easily when pierced with a fork. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from pan and keep warm. Add almonds to pan drippings, cook and stir until golden brown. Add wine and Worcestershire Sauce, stirring into drippings. Spoon over fish. Makes 4 to 5 servings.
GOLDEN FISH FILLETS
1-to-2 pounds fish flllets
3 tablespoons butter.
Three-fourths cup of Rhine or Chablis wine
One envelope of cheese sauce mix
Tomato wedges and/or chopped green pepper
Cook fish in butter in large skillet about five minutes, turning once, until lightly browned and fish flakes easily when pierced with a fork. Remove from pan and keep warm. Add water, wine and contents of cheese sauce mix envelope to pan. Cook and stir until sauce comes to a boil and thickens. Spoon over fish. Garnish with tomato or green pepper wedges.
FOIL WRAPPED FISH FILLETS
2 pounds fish fillets
Onion salt, black pepper and paprika.
Chablis and lemon juice.
For each serving tear off a two-foot length of heavy aluminum foil. Fold in half. Spread one side with butter. Place one serving fish on butter foil, sprinkle with onion salt, pepper and paprika.
Carefully pour about two tablespoons of Chablis and lemon juice over fish. Wrap foil around fish using double folds and pressing securely to make a tight seal. Grill on a rack over hot coals about five minutes, turning occasionally or until fish flakes easily when pierced with a fork.
Five tablespoons of soy sauce
One-fourth cup oil
One-fourth cup of Foch or Burgundy wine
1 tsp. French’s garlic salt
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
Dash of Tobasco sauce
Chopped onion, optional
Combine ingredients. Pour over venison chunks. Refrigerate from two days to a week, adding more wine as meat absorbs marinade. Wrap meat in foil and roast in oven or over open fire just until tender. Do not overcook.
The Braun’s marinating sauce for the venison chunks — marinated in wine — will be the hit of any party you attend if you decide to bring this along as your contribution. Enjoy!