CRAWFISH BISQUE


Crawfish bisque

Last summer was a good time for crawfish.  We had some excellent catches and made some great recipes.  After one of those great meals, I took all of the heads and tails of the left over crawfish and transformed them into stock.

It is fairly simple to make a crawfish broth.  You will need a large stock pot.  First, I took the leftover crawfish and rinsed them in cold water to clean off any residue from the boil. I then sauteed two minced shallots and 2 cloves garlic in olive oil.  I then added two chopped carrots, one chopped onion and 2 chopped celery stocks.  Once the vegetables were soft, I added the crawfish bodies.  As I stirred the crawfish, I also smashed the bodies to expose the meat and juices.  Use the entire crawfish, most of the flavor will come from the heads.  Once the bodies are smashed and browned, I added about 3 gallons off water to the pot.  The amount of water will differ based on the amount of crawfish you are using.  Bring the water to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.  Let the crawfish simmer for about 3-4 hours and the water will have reduce in half.  Strain the stock and discard the bodies and vegetables. After stirring the stock, I then run it through a China hat to get rid of any larger pieces that passed through the initial strain.

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Once you have made your stock you can use it in many different crawfish recipes.  I like to use my stock to make soups.  My favorite crawfish soup is crawfish Bisque.  The following is the recipe I like to use for my crawfish bisque.

CRAWFISH BISQUE

Ingredients

  • 12lb crawfish tails
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onions
  • 3 garlic cloves crushed
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/4  cup dry sherry
  • 2 teaspoons Tabasco sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon paparika
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 quart crawfish stock
  • 4 ounces tomato paste
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Directions

  1. In a saute pan heat a little oil over med-high heat and saute shallots, onions, and garlic for one minute.
  2. Deglaze the pan with the white wine.
  3. Add the Tabasco, and thyme and saute for another minute.
  4. Deglaze the pan with the sherry.
  5. Add the paprika, and crawfish stock base and combine well.
  6. Stir in tomato paste and add the bay leaves.
  7. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  8. Whisk in heavy cream and the butter and bring to a boil.
  9. Add the crawfish tails and simmer until cooked through.
  10. Garnish each bowl with chopped chives and a few whole boiled crawfish.  Shrimp makes a great substitute if whole crawfish are not available.

If you would like to learn more about how to catch crawfish or cook them “The Crawfish, From Pond To Plate” on Amazon.com https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ED47QVA

 

 

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White Bass Spring Rolls


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As you may already know, I have over 100 white bass fillets in my freezer.  I have already eaten white bass fried, in fish tacos and grilled, so I wanted to try something a little different this time.  I pulled a package of fillets out of the deep freeze and defrosted them in the sink.  As the fillets defrosted, I racked my brain to come up with a new way to cook this delicious fresh water fish.  After a few minutes, I decided to try a recipe with an Asian flair.  I love Vietnamese spring rolls and I love Japanese yakitori, so I decided to fuse the two recipes.  The term “yakitori” refers to the Japanese way of cooking proteins and vegetables by skewering the food and cooking it over charcoal. I had no idea how this recipe would turn out but I figured that the freshness of the spring roll ingredients would mesh well with the unami flavor of the yakitori fish.

I proceeded to make an Asian marinade,(ingredients and process listed below) and soaked the white bass fillets in the marinade for about 3 hours. After they were marinated, I skewered them on bamboo skewers and roasted them over white hot coals.  I then combined the fish with the vegetables, (listed below) in a rice paper wrapper and served them with a good, chilled Japanese Saki!

The recipe turn out fabulous and I would highly recommend that you make this with white bass fillets or another firm white meat fish, if you do not have access to white bass locally.  The fish had a distinctive Asian flavor with a hint of smokiness from the charcoal. I also made a dipping sauce which was based on a Vietnamese dipping sauce recipe that is traditionally served with spring rolls.  I will definitely be making this dish many more times over this summer!

White Bass Marinade Ingredients

1 cup soy sauce.

3/4 cup brown sugar.

1/4 cup fish sauce.

1/2 cup mirin wine.

1 tablespoon shrimp paste.

2 tablespoons sesame oil

1/2 cup vegetable oil

5 cloves of garlic, minced.

1 inch nob of ginger, minced.

1 bunch of green onions, chopped.

Juice of one lime.

1 teaspoon of black pepper.

If you like mint, add a few mint leaves to each role.

Picked Carrot Ingredients

3 multi colored carrots sliced thinly and cut into 3 inch pieces.

Enough rice vinegar to cover the carrots in a shallow bowl.

1 tablespoon of kosher salt.

Put the carrots in a shallow bowl and cover with the vinegar.  Add the salt and mix together.  Let the carrots pickle for about 3 hours.

Spring roll ingredients

15 white bass fillets.

15 rice paper wrappers.

Lettuce.

Cilantro.

Cucumber sliced thinly and in 3 inch sections.

About 20 basil leaves.

Bean Sprouts.

Dipping Sauce Ingredients

1/4 cup white vinegar.

1/4 cup fish sauce.

2 tablespoons white sugar.

2 tablespoons lime juice.

1 clove garlic, minced.

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes.

Whisk vinegar, fish sauce, sugar, lime juice, garlic, and red pepper flakes together in a small bowl. Set the dipping sauce aside.

Miscellaneous

15 Bamboo skewers.

Charcoal.

Directions

Combine marinade ingredients into a ceramic bowl and mix together thoroughly. Add fish fillets to marinade and let marinate for 3 hours.

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While this fish is marinating, place the bamboo skewers in water.

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About 1 hour before you are ready to cook the fish go ahead and light the charcoal in a charcoal chimney.  When the charcoal briquettes turn white they are ready to cook with.

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Remove the fish from the marinade and do not wipe off any liquid from the fish. Thread the fish onto the bamboo skewers.


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When the grill is hot, place the damp section of the bamboo skewer with the fish fillets over the white hot coals.  Make sure that you turn the fillets often to avoid burning the fish or allowing the bamboo to ignite. The fish should cook very quickly.

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Now it is time to assemble the spring roll.

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Take the rice paper and submerge in warm water for about 30 seconds until it is soft and malleable. Place the wrapper on a board and add a fish fillet.

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Add two pieces of cucumber.

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Add 3-4 pickled carrot slices.

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Add a few cilantro leaves.

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Add bean sprouts.

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Add lettuce and basil leaves.

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Fold both sides of the wrapper towards the center of the vegetables.

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Now roll the wrapper over the vegetables to form the spring roll.

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The spring roll is now ready to serve.

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White Bass Fish Tacos


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I have been wanting to get out and get some fishing in before spring ends.  I have been real busy planting the garden, working, attending out of state basketball tournaments for my daughter and waiting 2 weeks for a continual rain to stop.  I wanted to focus on white bass since they are extremely fun to catch and are great fighters. White bass also spawn in the month of May in Utah and Utah Lake is one of the best locations to target this fish.

White bass are distributed widely across the United States, particularly in the Midwest. They are very abundant in Pennsylvania and the area around Lake Erie. Some native ranges of the white bass are the Arkansas River, Lake Erie near Cleveland, Ohio, and Lake Poinsettia in South Dakota; they are abundant in the Winnebago lakes system of Wisconsin; and they are also very abundant in Oklahoma.   In fact, white bass are the state fish of Oklahoma.  White bass are not native to Utah but were introduced many years ago because they are known for their fight, flavor and reproduction success. White bass also make a great meal. They are very tasty and have sweet white meat with little to no fishy flavor.  They also make great fish tacos.

The weather finally cleared today and I had some free time and was able to hit Utah Lake this afternoon with my son. We got to the American Fork Boat Harbor and walked to where the American Fork River flows into the lake. We were not the only ones there. There were probably about 15 fishermen standing out in the lake along the waterline where the river meets the lake. Everyone was catching fish on about every other cast.

Fishing for white bass today reminded me of fishing for sockeye salmon in Alaska. Twenty years ago during my first visit to Alaska, I found myself fishing with hundreds of other fishermen who lined both sides of the river for several hundred yards.  I landed 2 fish and each one got tangled in 5 other lines.  Today, I was standing knee deep in the water, shoulder to shoulder amongst 15-20 other anglers casting to the fish as they swam upstream to spawn.  Luckily, we only had two line entanglements.   There must have been thousands of white bass concentrated at the mouth of the American Fork River and they were hitting jigs and spinners on nearly every cast.  We fished until are arms were tired and our bucket could hold no more fish.  We were at this fishing spot for only 1 hour and 20 minutes!

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When I got home I dreaded the chore that lay ahead which would entail filleting these 26 fish.  I decided to try using my electric knife to fillet these fish instead of my regular fillet knife.  I had used this knife one other time to fillet 50 yellow perch and I remembered how quickly I was able to get those perch filleted. The electric knife did not let me down and I had all 26 of the bass filleted in less than 35 minutes!  I ended up with 52 fillets.  Each fillet is the perfect size for one fish taco.  I decided to cook 14 of the fillets for a fish taco dinner tonight and I vacuum packed the rest and put them in the freezer for future fish fry’s.

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The following is the recipe I used for the fish tacos.  This recipe is nothing fancy. The fish has such a good flavor I don’t like to put to many condiments on the taco.  All I use on my white bass tacos is some shredded cabbage, cheese, and my jalapeno/cilantro cream sauce.  I serve the tacos on warm soft corn tortillas with a side of chili beans.

INGREDIENTS

Marinade

2 cups of Land Shark or Corona Beer.

1/2 cup of vegetable oil.

The juice of one lime.

1 tablespoon garlic powder or 2 cloves of fresh garlic minced.

1 tablespoon onion powder.

1 teaspoon cumin powder.

2 tablespoons cilantro leaves.

Salt and Pepper.

Flour Mixture For Frying

2 cups white flour.

salt and pepper to taste.

Jalapeno/Cilantro Cream Sauce

1 jalapeno cut in half and seed removed.  Leave seeds in if you want a very spicy sauce.

1 cup of cilantro leaves, no stems.

2 cups of mayonnaise.

3/4 cups milk.

Salt and pepper to taste.

Tacos

14 white bass fillets.

1/2 a cabbage shredded.

2-3 cups of shredded cheddar cheese.

DIRECTIONS

1. Combine marinade ingredients in a bowl.  Place the fish fillets in the marinade and make sure they are covered with the marinade.  Let the fish marinate for 1-2 hours.

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2. Make the jalapeno/cilantro cream sauce.  Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy.

3. Place flour mixture ingredients into a Ziploc bag and combine thoroughly.

4. Remove the fish fillets from the marinade and drop directly into the Ziploc bag containing the flour mixture ingredients.  Shake fillets until covered in the flour mixture.

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5. Pour enough oil in the frying pan to a depth of about 1/4 of an inch.  Heat oil and fry fish until you reach your desired doneness.

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6. To make the taco, place some cabbage on the tortilla then place a piece of fish on the cabbage.  On top of the fish, put your desired amount of cheese and top with the jalapeno/cilantro cream sauce.

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7. Serve with a lime wedge.  Enjoy!

ASIAN INSPIRED TROUT SERVED OVER WARM POTATO SALAD WITH EGG


I had one package each of trout and chubs from last falls fishing trip to the cold waters of Scofield Reservoir.  Most people in Utah would snub their nose at eating chubs. Chubs are an unwanted fish species that out compete other fish species such as trout for food.  Trout fishermen hate these fish with a passion. When they catch a chub they usually kill it and leave it on the shore to rot.  Or, they freeze them for ice fishing bait.  Chubs actually are good to eat if filleted and prepared properly.  If you do not like trout or chubs you can use freshwater fish such as bluegill, yellow perch, white bass, walleye or any of your favorite ocean fish in this recipe.

Usually, I fry these fish or bake them.  This time I wanted to try a different recipe and I was craving Asian flavors. I checked my cupboards and found several Asian spices and ingredients.  I decided to make up a recipe with these ingredients and let my family be the guinea pigs and see how they reacted to the finished product. I also decided to serve the fish over a warm, homemade potato salad with some of last years potatoes that I bottled in the fall. I topped this creation with an over-easy egg.

The dish was delicious and my fish leary family loved the flavors incorporated in this dish.  They liked the Asian flavor so much that they want me to use this marinade on beef, and chicken recipes!  I have included the recipe below for you to try.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Fish Marinade Ingredients-

1/2 cup vegetable oil.

1/2 cup soy sauce.

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1/2 cup Mirin wine or Sake.

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1 tablespoon Siracha pepper sauce.  More if you want it spicy.

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1/2 cup Annie Chung’s Korean Sweet & Spicy sauce

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1/2 cup Shrimp Paste – This can be found at Asian Markets.

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1 Tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon onion powder

The juice of one lime.

Black Pepper

Fish – 

8 fillets of your favorite freshwater or saltwater fish.

8 large eggs to top fish.

Potato Salad ingredients –

Potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes.

1 cup mayonnaise

Chopped Gherkins – to your preference.

Chopped Chives – to your preference.

Salt and pepper to taste.

Preparation – 

1.  Combine all marinade ingredients in a large Ziploc bag.  Mix thoroughly and then add fish fillets to the marinade.  Marinate for at least two hours.

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2.  Cut up potatoes and boil in salted water.  While the potatoes are boiling add the mayonnaise, Chives, Gherkins, salt and pepper to a mixing bowl.  When the potatoes are done boiling, strain and add to the mixing bowl.  Stir to combine all ingredients.  Put potato salad to the side while you saute the fish.

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3.  Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a saute pan.  Remove the fish from the marinade and put directly into hot oil. Keep an eye on the fish while it cooks to make sure the marinade does not burn.  Flip the fish several times while it cooks to make sure the fillets do not stick to the pan.  Small fish fillets should be cooked within 5 minutes.  Cook larger fillets longer until they are cooked through. While the fish is cooking, in a separate pan fry your eggs until they are over-easy.

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4. To plate, place potato salad in the center of a plate.  Add two fish fillets on top of the potato salad and top with the fried egg.  Serve immediately.

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Serves 4.  Enjoy!

The New Wild Forage Cookbook


This is the new Wild Forage Cookbook!  Check it out, I think you will like it.  Available in both Kindlel and paperback.

KINDLE

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00UCHFYMU

PAPERBACK

http://www.amazon.com/dp/1507711255

Enjoying Some Of Natures Bounty – Recipes


Evening At Silver Flat Reservoir

The first day of winter is only two days away and it still feels like fall here in Utah. We have had very little snow and the temperatures have been warm for this time of the year.  As the days grow shorter and winter takes hold, I hope you will be able to try these recipes for a winter nights meal and remember warmer days.

 Wild Caught Trout Encrusted In Pine Nuts And Served With A Spinach And Brie Cheese Sauce.

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Ingredients

4 wild caught trout

1 wedge of brie cheese

1 1/2 cup heavy cream

1 pound of baby spinach

2 cloves of garlic diced

2 shallots diced

2 eggs

2 cups of flour

salt and pepper

6 tablespoons of bacon grease or olive oil if you prefer

Pine nuts

Directions

1.   Butterfly fillet the four trout, rinse and pat dry.

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2.   Remove rind from brie cheese.

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3.   In a pot of boiling water, Blanche the baby spinach leaves for just about 25-30 seconds.  Remove from water and squeeze dry with a paper towel.  Place to the side until later.

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4.   Add 3 tablespoons of reserved bacon grease to a cast iron pan and heat on medium high.

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5.   Once the grease is hot but not smoking, add the shallots and garlic to the pan and sweat them for about 4-5 minutes.

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6.   Once the shallots and garlic are sweated, add the cream and brie cheese to the pan and bring to a gentle boil making sure not to scorch the cream or cheese.  Once the sauce is bubbling and the cheese has completed melted, chop the spinach and add to the cream mixture.  Stir and taste for seasoning.  Add salt and pepper as needed.

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7.   In a bowl, place two eggs and stir with a fork until mixed.

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8.   In a bowl, add flour and season with salt and pepper.

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9   Dredge trout in flour and then in egg mixture.

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10  Cover top of trout with pine nuts.  Season with a little more salt and pepper if you choose.

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11  Add remaining bacon grease to the cast iron pan and heat over medium high heat.

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12  Add fish to pan with the pine nut side of the fish down.  Fry fish for about 2 minutes or until golden brown and the turn over.  Finish frying the fish.  Fish is cooked when the flesh is flaky and white.

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13  Serve fish on a plate with the spinach brie sauce over the top.

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Wild Boar Bacon and Three Cheese Macaroni.

Ingredients

1 pound large elbow macaroni

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1 stick butter cut into 8 slices

5 strips of Apple-wood smoked wild boar bacon or regular store bought bacon

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1 jar of Ragu Cheddar Cheese sauce, 1 cup of grated Parmesan cheese, 1 cup shredded mild cheddar cheese

Directions

1.  Bring salted water to a boil.

2.  Fry bacon until crisp. (save bacon grease for the trout recipe)

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3.  Add pasta to boiling water.

4.  Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

5.  Once the pasta is aldente remove from water and place in a pot and add cheddar sauce, cheddar cheese and Parmesan to the pot and stir until mixed.

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6.  Put pasta in a greased baking pan and evenly add butter slices on top of the pasta.

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7.  Bake 25-30 minutes or until pasta on top starts to crisp up a little.

8.  Serve with fish or any other favorite meat dish or eat as a meal itself.

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Asian-Mex Utah Chub Tacos – Chub Taste Test Continues…


Alright, here is the second recipe in the great Utah Chub taste test.  The first recipe I shared was for smoked Utah Chub.  Today, this recipe is an Asian-Mex inspired dish.  I scoured the internet for Utah Chub recipes and found zero, zilch, nada!  I was forced to make up my own recipe for this dish and I will take full responsibility for how it turns out.  This recipe combines flavors from the far east such as soy sauce, pickled carrots and green onions and spices such as jalapenos and cilantro from Mexico.

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First, it is important to filet the fish to remove all the bones.  Contrary to popular belief, this was not difficult  and all fillets were boneless.

 Here is how you filet a Utah Chub;

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Rinse Fish and pat dry.                                   Cut all the Pelvic Fins off

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Remove the Dorsal Fin

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Remove the Anal Fin.                                 Slice from vent along backbone to tail.

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Place knife under flesh at backbone and free ribs from flesh cutting upwards.

Slice along backbone to free Y Bones.

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Pull up on back bone while pushing down on the flesh.    Trim belly skin from fillets.

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Cut Fillets in half.                                  Place fillets in Buttermilk for 30- 60 minutes

Now it is time to prepare the quick pickled carrots.  I use organic multi-colored carrots for taste and appearance.  The pickled carrots will add a little Asian zing to the dish.

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Peel carrots and slice.                                                           Cut carrots into thin sticks.

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Cover Carrots with Rice vinegar and add a tbsp of kosher salt.

To make the Asian-Mex sauce you will need the following;

1 cup of mayonnaise,

1 jalapeno sliced in half with seeds removed,

3/4 cup of cilantro leaves,

3 tablespoons of soy sauce

1/4 cup of milk.

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until mixed and creamy.

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Basic Asian-Mex sauce ingredients.                   Finished Asian-Mex Sauce.

Prepare flour coating for fish fillets.

The powder coating will add flavor and texture to this fish.  I use the following seasonings to season my flour mixture.  Feel free to use your favorite seasonings instead.

1 1/2 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup garlic powder

1/4 cup kosher salt

3 tablespoons black pepper

3 tablespoons oregano flakes

3 tablespoons parsley flakes

3 tablespoons thyme flakes

1/2 cup smoked paprika

2 tablespoons celery salt

2 tablespoons Old Bay seasoning

Mix flour with all ingredients in a Ziploc bag and place buttermilk covered fillets into flour mixture and shake well.  Place fillets into 1/2 inch of hot (350 degree) oil and cook until golden brown.  Cooking time may vary but it should be finished in 3-5 minutes.  Check fillets for doneness.

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Drain the fried fish to remove excess oil.

Now it is time to build the fish taco.

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Place two pieces of fish on tortilla.                    Place shredded cabbage over the fish.

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Add sharp cheddar cheese to the taco.                                Add some pickled carrots.

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Add some cilantro and green onions.                     Drizzle Asian-Mex sauce on taco.

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Enjoy!

Once again, I was pleasantly surprised how good this recipe for Utah Chubs turned out.  The fish taco’s were delicious and the Chub was delicate, white, semi-firm, with very little fishy flavor.  You could serve these tacos to your friends and they would have no idea that they were eating Utah Chub.  These tacos were as good as any catfish, trout, or cod fish taco.  If you are throwing your chubs away or just sticking them in the freezer for bait you are missing out on a very delicious, mild flavored fish.  I encourage you to try this recipe the next time you catch a nice fat Utah Chub.  I think that the Utah Department of Wildlife Resources should promote the eating of Utah Chubs as an additional way to keep their numbers in check.

I still have some Chubs in the freezer and will try a different recipe on those the next time.  I will share that recipe with you as well.