Nothin' Like Fresh Fish- Shore Lunch Style
Updated: Aug 10, 2018
Two cast-iron pans and an open campfire, boats pulled up on the rocks after a morning of catching walleye. To me, this is the classic shore lunch. But you can recreate this experience in your own home or cabin. In one pan, fry up some bacon, the slices can be added to a walleye bacon lettuce and tomato sandwich later. In the other pan add some Crisco or lard to the pan to fry the fish. When you are out on the water, lard works well because it cools off and firms up for no spilling. Also, proper deep frying calls for oil temperature in the 360F range. Crisco and lard can stand temperatures up to 400F.
If you plan to use a wet batter mix like Shore Lunch fish batter, you must keep it ice cold in your cooler prior to using. This will seal the batter when the fish hits the hot oil allowing the fish to cook by steaming within the firm crunchy crust. The fish doesn’t get soft and the batter doesn’t get soggy. You can tell if the oil’s ready by adding a drop of the batter to the oil. The batter will bubble profusely on the surface if the temperature’s right. Don’t add too many pieces of fish at once or the oil temperature will drop too low.
If you like a dry breading, flour seasoned with salt, pepper, a pinch of cayenne and garlic salt works perfectly. Use several beaten eggs and a little milk or water to get it to adhere to the fillets.
Back to the pan you used for bacon, add slices of potato and onion and fry them until the outer edges have a nice char. Yo never want the potatos underdone so get them started early. Open some cans of cream corn and heat them by the fire. If you have more time or have the space to haul more food, replace the creamed corn with ears of corn roasted in the fire. Soak the ears with the husks on in water for about a half hour. Snuggle them right alongside the fire into the coals. Usually takes
about a half hour. Peel back the husks, butter and season to taste.
If you are concerned there is nothing remotely healthy, get some baked beans or maybe some brocoli salad or cole slaw from the deli section of your local grocery- unless you have the time the night before to make it yourself. Pick up your favorite tartar sauce- a delicious topping for a good fried fillet. Serve the fillets and the potatos and, if you opted for creamed corn, spoon it over the potatos and even over the fillets. Apply the tartar sauce as you like to the fillets not covered with creamed corn. Add your beans or deli salad and this is outdoor dining at its best!