I had the wonderful luck to land a 3 1/2 lb. smallmouth last Saturday measuring 17 3/4 inches from lip to tail. I skinned and fillet' the fish and put it in a freezer bag from which I removed all of the air. Taht night, I cooked up the first fillet and was somewhat dissapointed at how bland the fish was. It wasn't like the trout or salmon I so love. I had just dredged in flour and lightly salted it as it pan-fried in a bit of oil. So tonight I had to try again. The results were so good that I had to turn my experiment into a recipe, and I share it with you.
First, don't expect an overpowering anything, but rather, a delicate blending of some potentially powerful flavors. The end result was well flavored and delicate, with each ingredient adding to the totality, but not commanding center stage. So I invite you to try this recipe, and of course as with all of my recipes, feel free to change it, make it yours.
1 lb. fresh bass fillets
1 red-ripe jalepino pepper
1 medium egg
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. dill weed
1/2 tsp. dried tarragon
1 tbs. lemon juice
3 marble-sized spring onions, with 1 inch of the stems
Preheat your best stick-free pan (I use cast-iron) over medium heat. Mince the fish , pepper, and onion. Place into a bowl with the remaining ingredients and stir until well mixed.
Add 3 tbs. cooking oil to the pan. Place enough of the fish mixture into the pan to make a 3-inch disk, about twice the thicknes of a completed pancake. Cover and cook for 3 minutes. Flip the fishcake and cook an additional 3 minutes, again with the lid on. Remove to a searving plate, or onto a cookie sheet. Cook the remaining fishcakes until all are done.
Of course, if you are cooking a bunch of these, you can place more fishcakes into a larger pan, or on a griddle.
Serve with a tossed green salad and your favorite dressing. But remember, the fishcake is a fairly delicate flavor. So try to keep the other sides toned down a bit. I'm thinking a good cole-slaw would be good also, and maybe some sweet potato. Enjoy.
Seeeeeeya; Goodweed of the North