When it comes to rolling out a dinner centered around a freshwater catch, it doesn’t get more authentic than fried fish.
Whatever your catch, from catfish to bluegill to walleye, you’ll be hard pressed to find a fish that doesn’t taste great when deep-fried and carefully prepared with a good recipe. You’ll also have a hard time finding an angler worth their salt who doesn’t have a strong opinion regarding the absolute best way to fry up a given species.
In this Mercury Cook Your Catch video, Mercury Pro Team member Taylor Wright shares his favorite way to fry northern pike, using fish he caught while ice fishing in Canada. Wright is a well-known Canadian outdoorsman and the host of “The Canadian Tradition” television show. He’s had a lifetime of practice cooking freshwater fish and just about any other North American game you can think of. His recipe is as simple as it is tasty, and you’ll only need a handful of ingredients to whip up a fish fry that will stand just as tall at your table as it does in the great fishing lodges of Wright’s native land.
Taylor Wright’s Camp Fried Fish
Start to finish: 20 minutes
1 northern pike, filleted (or 1 to 2 pounds of any other freshwater fish you prefer)
1/4 cup cream
1 tablespoon hot sauce
Enough dry fish batter mix to coat fillets (Wright uses Uncle Buck’s from Bass Pro Shop)
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish
Remove the skin and Y-bone from the pike. Then cut the fillets into large cubes.
In a bowl, thoroughly mix the eggs, cream and hot sauce.
Pour some of the dry batter mix on a plate.
Soak a few pieces of fish in the egg mixture. Then roll each piece in the dry batter mix until all sides are well-coated. Repeat until all the fish are similarly breaded
Bring vegetable oil to high heat on the stove, in an electric fryer or on an outdoor gas burner.
Use tongs to carefully place each piece of fish in the vegetable oil. A word of caution: Hot oil can be very dangerous when spilled or splashed, so use extreme care. Make sure no children or pets get near the cooking area.
Cook fish until golden brown. If you’re unsure whether you can recognize when the fish is done by sight, use a meat thermometer. Fish needs to reach an internal temperature of 145 F (62.8 C) to be safe to eat.
Mix mayonnaise and relish in a 2:1 ratio to make tartar sauce for dipping.
Slice the lemon into wedges for a final topping at the table.
Serve with fried potatoes or chips, baked beans or anything else your guests might enjoy.
Is this the best fried fish recipe on the planet? You be the judge, but if it’s good enough for a veteran like Wright to share, you can bet it’s a strong contender. You can also put your own spin on it with a favorite spice or breading, and see if that rings the bell for you. No matter how you do it, you and those around your table are going to love the search for perfection.
For more great recipes by some of the world’s foremost anglers and outdoorsmen, search “Cook Your Catch” in the Mercury Dockline Blog.