Contrary to popular belief, northern pike are actually a deliciously tasty fish if done right. There are a couple of considerations to take into account when choosing to harvest a pike for dinner. Firstly, and probably most importantly, I choose to take a small fish out of cold water. Colder water seems to allow the flesh of the fish to remain firm while cooking, and smaller fish in my opinion generally taste much better than larger and older fish. Also, to that, smaller fish aren’t your brood stock responsible for making babies.
Secondly, cleaning a pike can be considered an art! They are chock full of bones; however, with a little care and know how, one is able to fillet a pike such that there won’t be a bone to be found. See the video for tips on how I like to clean pike.
The following is a recipe I LOVE, that encompasses so many things that Wilderness North represents. Shore Lunch fish, native tradition and generally excellent cuisine.
From Outdoor Canada Magazine:
What sandwich could be tastier than this shorelunch special featuring fresh bannock and fried fish with lemon-dill mayonnaise? Any white-fleshed fish such as perch, pike or walleye works well with this easy-to-make recipe
• 1½ cups flour
• 1½ tsp baking powder
• 1 tsp salt
• 4 tbsp margarine
• ½ water cup water
• 4 skinless fish fillets, 6 to 8 ounces each
• Salt and black pepper, to taste
• 2 tbsp margarine
• Lemon juice (optional)
• ½ cup mayonnaise
• 2-3 tbsp fresh dill, chopped (or 1 to 2 tsp dried)
• Juice of ½ lemon
• 1 tsp lemon zest
• Lemon-dill mayonnaise
• Combine mayonnaise with dill, lemon juice and zest. If you plan to use this recipe for shorelunch, prepare the mayo at home and keep it cool.
• Build a fire and let it burn down to the coals (at home, use a cast iron skillet over medium heat). Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a heavy plastic bag, then blend in 2 tbsp margarine. Add enough water to create a doughy consistency. Melt remaining 2 tbsp margarine in pan over coals, then place dough into pan, flatten with a fork and fry until golden brown on both sides. Remove bannock from pan.
• Pat fish fillets dry and season with salt and pepper. Melt margarine in pan, add fillets and fry until golden on both sides. Top with a squeeze of lemon, if desired.
• To serve, break bannock into four pieces and slice each in half. Place fish on bannock slices and liberally coat with lemon-dill mayonnaise. You can also garnish with tomato slices, lettuce and thinly sliced sweet onions. Crunchy potato chips or nachos are good accompaniments.
• Bannock basics: When cooking bannock, it’s best to have plenty of coals, so start a large fire. Once the flames burn down, spread the coals and begin cooking. This recipe makes a bannock that fills a nine-inch cast iron skillet. To prevent the bannock from sticking, shake the pan every few minutes. Flip over the bannock when one side is nicely browned. It’s ready once it makes a hollow sound when you tap on it.
• For the glass: A light summer beer or chilled Sauvignon Blanc goes down nicely with this fresh fish sandwich.
So teach yourself how to properly clean a pike, and enjoy!