I connected with Joel Shangle, Owner/Operator and host of Northwest Wild Country a few weeks ago through the land of networking: Facebook. Joel features recipes about all things wild and local on his radio show and we discussed the opportunity for me to write some recipes featuring what is wild and locally available here in the Seattle area. I jumped at the chance!
I grew up crabbing and clam digging most weekends we had the chance and fishing a bit also. My brother is a hunter, my father is the king of home-smoked fish and meat – he has a garage converted into a meat shop and makes pepperoni, sausage, jerky, and has a couple of freezers he’ s converted into smoke houses. He’s the one people call when they want their meat processed after a good hunting trip or successful fishing expedition. He has fresh tuna canned in the cupboard, freezers full of clams from the last open weekend and some elk pepperoni around all of the time. Going to his house, we always know we’ll get a good treat!
Eating local and in season is also very important to me. Fresh fish, wild caught – what a pleasure! I hope to be able to come up with some delicious, healthy meals featuring what Joel (and his crew of misfits as he says) are catching locally as the seasons change. Can’t WAIT for crab/shrimp/clam season. The next chance I get to go clam digging we’re heading down to the beach for some good action pictures! Here is a picture from last year:
What is in season now? If you’re on the Columbia, sturgeon is the fish to be after. You can’t even get it in the markets right now, so you have to be lucky enough to catch this yourself. Sturgeon is an interesting fish – one of the oldest bony fish (120 million years old) in existence, as well as the largest freshwater fish in North America. You may have had caviar – probably from sturgeon. The flavor of sturgeon meat is unique. The meat is dense and has a flavor unlike anything else, something similar would be swordfish. Hereis a great article I found that gives you some information about how to handle your sturgeon after catching.
I decided to make a delicious Braised Sturgeon with an Italian Capponata -Style Sauce. I felt a nice sear to the fish, then a bit of a simmer in this flavorful, healthy sauce would be an amazing way to enjoy your catch. Serve with a side of whole grain linguine tossed with some garlic-infused olive oil, or steamed spaghetti squash and you have an delicious, healthy meal to show off to all of your friends! “You caught the fish and made this? Impressive!”
Braised Sturgeon with an Italian Capponata-Style Sauce
2 Tb olive oil
1 lb Sturgeon, cut into 4 even pieces
Pinch Kosher/sea salt
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. When hot add the oil and swirl the pan to coat. Season the sturgeon and place in the pan. Let the first side get golden brown, carefully flip and brown the other side. Remove the fish to a plate. To the same pan add:
2 shallots, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 small eggplant, chopped
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1 pinch Kosher/sea salt
Fresh ground black pepper to taste
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp anchovy paste
Saute these ingredients about 5 minutes, allowing them to get a bit brown. Add:
1/4 cup red wine
1 tsp red wine vinegar
Bring to a boil, allow most of the moisture to evaporate off. Add:
28 oz canned crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped Kalamata olives
1/4 cup capers
Stir and nestle the fish back into the sauce. Simmer 20 minutes on low. Add:
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
Serve and enjoy!
Here are some more pictures of my family clam digging:
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