Fish Will Never Be the Same
The coming Saturday we are hosting a midsummer night party, and we will of course serve fish. In the last couple of days I did some intensive fishing, like a man on a mission. Yesterday I caught 6 big pollock. I will make Seilaks: salted, slightly dried pollock flavored with wood vinegar. We also have four salmon fillets hanging outside drying. I will cold smoke them tomorrow with juniper wood.
Two nights ago, Kristin’s principal at school called and told her that “the water is boiling” in the bay in front of her house. In 10 minutes I arrived there by boat to catch the mackerel that made the water boil. I only caught two, plus two herring. Mackerels are like little tunas: they’re very exciting to catch on a hook because they fight so hard. Today I hot smoked them on our deck. The kids and I played with different ways to flavor the smoke, like putting cumin and fennel seeds in the wood chips that made smoke. We sat on our deck and wolfed them down with relish and reluctantly saved some for our party.
At the moment, we have around 100 lbs of fish of 6 species in varying different state of preparation in and around our house. Over the last year, I estimate that I gutted and filleted on average a fish every other day. If I accomplished nothing else this year, at least I know how gut and filet a big fish in a few minutes.
This is the third reflection on our year here: It’s been a privilege to have learned to catch and prepare great fish. And eat them. Fish is so abundant, so close to us, and catching them so hassle-free. I don’t need to think about a license or quota. I walk out on a dock or jump in a boat and in minutes, there could be fish on the hooks — just in time for dinner.
I wonder how supermarket fish will taste once we return to the US. I fear fish will never be the same.