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Now that Spring Fishing is Here, Try Some New Recipes

Apr 23

Written by:
4/23/2013 8:25 AM  RssIcon

Catching fish is fun, but keeping fish can be even more fun, particularly when you have some new recipes. So, we thought we’d pass along a few tried-and-true recipes, courtesy of N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission Fisheries Biologist Kevin Hining, who knows a thing or two about cooking fish.

Backpack Campfire Trout

Many folks use this method when backpacking because you can lighten the load by leaving the heavy skillet at home.


Aluminum foil



Seasoning salt

1)     Gut fish and remove scales, if needed. I leave the head on, which also allows the use of the “cheek” meat.

2)     Put a pat of butter inside each fish and place fish on a piece of aluminum foil. Add a pat of butter on each side of the fish, sprinkle inside and outside with seasoning salt, and roll up in aluminum foil.

3)     Repeat for each fish – you can double up fish or even make a large packet containing severalfish, if you prefer.

4)     Place fish on hot coals that have been raked to the side of the fire (no direct flame). Heat for a few minutes on each side and flip.

You should hear the butter sizzling; if not, you might need to add more coals or move closer to flame.

Remove each aluminum packet and let cool for a couple of minutes.

You can eat fish directly off the foil by pulling the meat from the bone bite by bite with a fork. However, I prefer to grab the fish by the tail or head and rake all of the meat off the bone at one time – it should come off easily in 2-3 large chunks.

To obtain the cheek meat, place fort into jaw area right below the eye of the fish. A small filet-like chunk of meat will ap­pear – this is the cheek meat. It’s only a small bite, but is just part of eating trout over a campfire for many folks. For an added bit of flavor, wrap each fish with a piece of bacon before cooking.

Grilled Striped Bass with Pineapple Salsa

Large striped bass fillets

Blackening seasoning (or any seasoning of your choice)

Pineapple Salsa

½ cup diced onion

½ cup drained pineapple chunks

½ cup diced fresh tomatoes, or drained canned diced tomato

1 to 2 diced fresh jalapenos

1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar

1 clove of diced garlic

A wire tray specially designed for grilling fish works great,as it keeps the fish from breaking up and falling through the grill grates. However, you can also cook on a sheet of aluminum foil placed on the grill. Spray cooking tray or foil with oil and sprinkle both sides of fish with seasoning. Place fish onto tray or foil and grill over medium heat. Cook fish for 5-7 minutes on each side, or until done. Mix together all salsa ingredients and pour over fish. Serve immediately.

Crappie Tacos

1 pound crappie fillets (a variety of fish will work)

Blackening seasoning (a mix of seasoning salt and blackpepper also works well)

1 avocado

1 can of diced tomatoes and green chilies

½ cup of corn

1 lime

Fresh cilantro

Corn tortillas

1)  Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat and spray with oil or coat with butter. Once skillet is hot, add fish and sprinkle with blackening seasoning. Flip fish after a couple of minutes and put blackening on the other side.

2)   Open can of toma­toes and green chilies. Drain 2 to 3 tablespoons of the liquid from the tomatoes and chilies into the skillet with the fish – wait until fish is almost cooked before adding the liquid.

3)  To make salsa for fish - drain the remaining liquid from the tomatoes and chilies and place into a bowl. Add ½ cup of cooked corn and mix with the tomatoes and chilies. Squeeze lime juice over the mixture. Slice avocado and cilantro.

Once all ingredients are done, heat corn tortillas on a hot griddle or skillet lightly sprayed with oil, or use a set of tongs to heat them over direct flame if you have a gas stove top. Browning the tortillas seems to make them tougher and less likely to get soggy when the fish and salsa are added. Once the tortillas are browned, add fish, garnish with salsa, avo­cado, cilantro.

For more recipes like these, check out the Commission’s Game and Fish Recipes cookbook

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