Here in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, fishing is culture, food, religion, job, escape, and love. Truthfully, I probably could have done 46 episodes on fishing alone. I’m sure you are thankful that I haven’t — in fact there have been five episodes about fishing, and they may be the five least watched episodes in the entire series. We’ve done fishing on Lake Superior, at a trout farm, with Native Americans, with fishing pros, and even fly fishing. Whether you watched all of those, or you’re in the “fishing is boring, so how could watching fishing be any better?” camp, this week’s video is not about sitting around waiting for a fish to bite. It’s about killing them with a f#$%ing spear!!!

It sounds hardcore, and kind of is. You sit for hours in a black box, with a giant hole cut in the ice, waiting for a real fish to think that your toy fish is real. The big Northern Pikes come by every so often, usually right around the time you are thinking about giving up. At that moment, you have a few seconds to guide a five-pronged spear into the Pike. Its the biggest fishing rush I’ve had, and the resulting flesh was delicious. I pickled the Northern we speared. It’s a traditional way of preparing them, and very tasty. The recipe is below the video. Feel free to adjust the spices to what you have.

Pickled Northern

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1 filleted Northern, de-boned and cut into pieces.
1/3 cup salt
500 milliliters water
750 milliliters cider vinegar
4 bay leaves
4 sprigs thyme
1 small onion
Peel of one orange
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon toasted coriander seeds
1 tablespoon toasted fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon star annis
1 Thai chili

Make a brine by combining the salt and water. If you are using kosher salt, you will have to heat the water to make the salt dissolve. Chill the liquid and pour over the fish. Let sit in the fridge for three hours, then remove the fish from the brine and rinse well. Place the fish in sterilized jars.

Heat all of the remaining ingredients in a sauce pot. Bring to a boil, simmer for two minutes and then chill in the fridge. Pour the pickling liquid into the jars with the fish, making sure some of the onion, orange peel, and seeds are in there as well. Screw the tops onto the jars and let the fish sit in the fridge for at least three days. The fish will be perfect after a week and will be good to eat for a month or more.

Serve it as a snack with bread and something creamy (yogurt, sour cream) and crunchy (pumpkin seeds, fried shallots … ), or add to a salad. The other day I served it as an hors doeuvres on a polenta cake with radishes. Very tasty.

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