If you’re good, when you die you go to Central Oregon’s John Day River and go fishing for smallmouth bass. But wherever you go fishing, part of the fun is eating what you catch. Here’s how to cook a fish outdoors using only aluminum foil, a knife and a heating source.
by Leon Pantenburg
Great-tasting fish starts as soon as they’re caught. Here are some tips from “Fish Alaska” magazine to
help make those fish as good to eat as they are fun to catch:
- Fish flesh is very perishable, so keep fish alive as long as possible, and out of direct sunlight. A metal link basket or live box is best. A stringer can damage the flesh and increase chances of bacterial contamination. I usually take along a large cooler about half-full of ice, and toss the fish in there.
- Clean the fish as soon as possible, because time and heat can rob freshness and flavor. Gut and lightly rinse your fish to remove blood and bacteria. This will help prevent spoilage and will keep any parasites from migrating into the flesh of the fish. If making fillets, rinse the fish in clean cold water to remove blood, bacteria and enzymes.
- If the fish have been frozen, thaw fillets in the refrigerator, in the microwave or under cold running water. Food defrosted in the microwave should be cooked immediately. Thawed fish should be used within one to two days.
- Moist-heat cooking methods are unnecessary. Methods that develop flavor, such as broiling, baking or frying, are preferred. Cook fish until it flakes with a fork. Undercooking fish can be risky, while overcooking can result in a tough, bland-tasting dish.
Here is my go-to recipe for making any kind of fish in foil. In this case, I used trout, but the choice of fish and seasonings are up to you.
Trout Foil Wraps
1 large square of aluminum foil (about 24-by-24 inches)
- Salt, pepper and favorite seasonings
2 lemon slices
Small trout, head removed
Place the aluminum foil on a flat surface and put the trout on top. Sprinkle the fish, inside and out with salt, pepper and seasonings. Put lemon slices on top and a couple pats of butter. Wrap tightly.
Place on hot grill or directly onto the coals of a campfire. Cook about 5 to 8 minutes on one side, and then turn. The fish is done when the flesh is opaque and flakes easily.