Canadian lakes and rivers are jam packed with Northern Pike. They’re abundant and nutritious, white, flaky, and firm. Removing the bones is a mere 2 cuts more than prepping a musky. Everything considered, this may just be the perfect fish to cook.
Here are 2 delicious recipes to test the theory:
Mesquite-Smoked Margarita Pike
- 1 Fresh Northern Pike
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- Fresh Lime
- Splash 40 Creek Whiskey
- Finely Chopped Garlic
- Finely Chopped Chile Pepper
- Fresh cilantro
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Hot Pepper Flakes Mesquite chips
Fillet your Northern Pike and squeeze a small amount of lime juice onto all sides. Lay it with the rib cage side pointing up and douse with whisky, oil, and spices.
Soak mesquite wood chips in water for 30-60 minutes. You can lay the chips directly on the charcoal in your grill, or in a smoker box for propane grills. Either way, you’ll want to make sure that your grill has reached between 570 and 750 °F (299 and 399 °C) for optimal flavour.
Cook the fish on a fish grill grate for 2-3 minutes, flip, and repeat. Make sure not to cook it too long, the fish should be tender and moist, and have a nice golden colour when you’re done.
Pair with your favourite greens or wild rice, and enjoy!
Mediterranean Northern Pike
- 1 fresh northern pike (use a 3 pound fish, but you’ll probably only need one of the fillets) cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1-2 tablespoon flour
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- 1 stalk ( ¼ cup) fresh celery, coarsely chopped
- Green onions ( ¼ cup), coarsely chopped
- 1 cup clam juice
- 1 jar (or homemade) marinara sauce
- Fresh ground pepper
- Fresh mozzarella and/or grated parmesan
Heat a lug of olive oil in a large skillet pan, and add the tablespoon of butter. Be careful not to let the oils bubble or pop, this is when it’s converted to “bad fats”. Add the chopped onions and stir until translucent. Sprinkle in a pinch of sugar if you want to take the bitter taste out of it. Stir in the celery and minced garlic until the celery begins to lighten.
Cut the fish into bite sized portions and toss for a few moments. Sprinkle the flour over the mix and toss again. This draws out all of the flavours,
Reduce heat, add clam juice and marinara sauce. If the sauce begins to bubble and plop it’s too hot. Allow it to simmer for a few minutes.
Serve over spaghettini and top with ground pepper and fresh parmesan cheese.
Through the winter months we crave warmth and comfort. Few things accomplish this better than a good chowder. It’s also time to enjoy the recent harvest while it’s still fresh.
Yellow Perch Chowder
- 1 1⁄2 lb. yellow perch (or other local panfish) fillets, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 2 russet (or whatever’s local) potatoes, peeled and cut into 1⁄2-inch cubes
- 4 large ears of fresh corn
- 1 yellow onion, coarsely chopped
- 2 carrots, coarsely chopped
- 2 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
- 4 whole peppercorns
- 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1⁄4 lb. bacon, diced
- 1⁄2 cup heavy cream
- 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Snap the corn cobs in half after removing all of the kernels. Heat a lug of olive oil in a large pot over medium/high heat then add the onion until translucent. Add carrots, peppercorns, and celery. Stir until celery begins losing colour.
Add the cobs and 2 Litres of cold water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30-40 minutes. Strain the liquids into a second large pot and discard the solids.
MAKE THE CHOWDER:
Cook the bacon how you like it best and set it aside. Saute the corn kernels and potatoes with salt and pepper to taste. Add the corn stock and bring to a boil. Simmer for 12-15 minutes.
The fish is fragile. To avoid breaking it down, add very gently to the pot along with the bacon. Carefully pour the cream around the sides of the pot and shake - not stir - the pot.
Garnish with chopped parsley and enjoy.
- 1 lb. uncooked fresh largemouth bass, chopped
- 1 cup corn - fresh cut off the cob
- 1/2 cup finely diced onion
- 1/2 cup finely diced green bell pepper
- 1/2 cup finely diced celery
- 3/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 1/4 cups plain bread crumbs
- 2 Tbs olive oil
- 2 Tbs butter
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 squirt fresh lemon juice
- 1 pinch of salt
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper
- 1/4 cup salted butter
Beat egg yolks, lemon juice, salt, and cayenne pepper together in a microwave-safe bowl until smooth. Slowly stream melted butter into the egg yolk mixture while whisking to incorporate.
Heat in microwave for 15 to 20 seconds; whisk. If sauce separates in the microwave, add a small amount of water and whisk until consistent.
Combine the chopped fish, onions, green peppers, corn and celery in mixing bowl and toss well.
Combine mayonnaise with mustard and cayenne in a separate bowl. Stir into fish mixture. Add salt and pepper. Fold in egg and 30% (or until mixture becomes ‘firm’) of the bread crumbs. Cover and chill the mixture for an hour.
Form the mixture into hamburger sized patties and sprinkle remaining bread crumbs over surface. Add a lug of oil and butter to a skillet, and cook patties on medium heat for 3 minutes on each side. Add more oil as needed to keep skillet from going dry.
Spoon hollandaise sauce over patties and serve.
Sometimes an entire meal is a bit too much, and a nice snack will hit the spot just fine. Or maybe you need the first course to a formal meal, or an unexpected appetizer for a party. Whatever your reason, you’re in for a refreshing treat.
- 0-12 walleyes cheeks
- 1 cup softened cream cheese
- 3 tablespoon chopped sun-dried tomatoes
- 1 clove garlic, finely diced
- 1 tablespoon pine nuts, toasted and chopped
- 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
- dash of Worcestershire
- 3 drops Tabasco sauce
- 1-2 drops liquid smoke (optional)
- cumin, chili powder, seasoned salt, pepper to taste
Toast the pine nuts until golden brown.
Simmer the cheeks in a small amount of water for until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Don’t overcook.
Add the sun-dried tomatoes, Tabasco, liquid smoke, garlic and spices to the softened cream cheese.
Coarsely chop the cheek pieces and add to the cheese mixture. Add the cilantro and chill for an hour. Garnish with red bell pepper, cilantro and green onion, and serve with your favourite cracker.
Crappies (Black and White) is another Canadian favourite. Regarded as one of the most delicious panfish in the world, crappies are high in protein, fat, and taste. As a bonus, they’re also one of the easier fish to clean and fillet.
Sriracha Soaked Sun
- 1 piece black or white crappie fillet
- Sriracha sauce, homemade is good!
- 3/4 cup cornmeal
- 3/4 cup flour
Brush the fillet with sriracha sauce. Cover and let stand for 30 minutes while the sauce soaks in.
Mix cornmeal and flour in a plastic back, then add the fillet. Shake bag until fillet is entirely covered.
Deep fry fillet, or pan fry in sunflower 3 minutes on each side as a healthier alternative.