Saturday, July 25, 2009

strange things done under the midnight sun


if we may for one moment, turn our thoughts and stomachs to the north, and if we forget that one of the functions of this blog is the democratization (within the bounds of economic status implied by internet access) of food and food preparation, then i will share the following:


suggested recipe for arctic grayling (or i suppose white fish of your choice):

after a few fishing excursions spent re-familiarizing myself with the whole line/pole/reel combo, i went fishing by myself after work, let's call it 1 or 2 in the a.m., on the lovely klondike river of gold panning fame. i was wearing my fishing outfit of course, jeans, rubber boots, elise's red plaid flannel shirt, hat and scarf for mosquito protection, and faded cordouroy jacket from 11th grade with a swiss army knife in the pocket. what i had thought lay in store for me was a tranquil evening not watching "300" the movie (the activity taking place in my living room), but my evening was destined to be violent and bloody as well. obviously, i caught a fish. whoa. a fish. for the last weeks i had been catching rocks and the occasional twig. so when that speckled silvery flopper chomped down on my spinner i was afire with adrenaline. unfortunately, the adrenaline, which is supposed to give humans you know great strength or speed or whatever, must have puttered out at exactly the wrong time. plus, let's be honest, i really had no idea what i was doing.

to continue, the fish was on the rocks, landed safely, flopping, and i stood completely terrified on the shore wondering number one, how to get the hook out of its mouth without touching it, and number 2, how i was going to manage to hit it over the head with a rock, again, without touching it. the not touching was somehow a central concept at the time. i decided not to take out the hook until later: challenge number one, solved. then in my infinite fish-based wisdom i decided that picking up a large rock and dropping it on the fish's head would solve problem number two. as you may have guessed, i was wrong. so after some involuntary squealing and shuddering and jumping around in a panic, i touched the fish. it was an arctic grayling, straight out of the river, mottled and grey with the trademark oversized dorsal fin. at the time, it was just slimy and horribly horribly alive. so i hit it on the head with a rock again. and then i switched rocks. and there was blood on my weapon rock and on the anvil rock and it was still alive and fighting me and slippery and let me emphasize one more time HORRIBLE. eventually a quiet fell over the shore.

there is a fairy tale in which the brave little tailor kills eight in one blow. in my case it was more like one in eight blows. happily thanks to youtube, once the fish was dead i knew what to do. the cleaning was less dramatic then the execution and once it was over and the fish was gutless, headless and floating in the improvised rock aquarium i made for it on the shore, my panic had mostly subsided. and then three casts later, i caught another one.

but on to preparation:

lemon juice
pepper
onions
butter
garlic (if you wish)

combine on and around and in fish, wrap the whole slippery headless ex-swimmer in tin foil and bake in the embers of a campfire or the nice safe controlled temperature of your electric oven. check in 10 minutes, then consume and watch for bones.