Our family friend Wesley went fishing in Bodega Bay, California and caught this ling cod in the Pacific Ocean. I fried it up in a cast-iron skillet, using a recipe that my mother always used whenever our family caught fish during our frequent camping-and-fishing trips. I grew up in a boating family and we enjoyed catching fish and cooking them in a cast-iron skillet on our propane camp stove. We had a red fiberglass boat named the Red Snapper. We would launch our boat and go fishing (and water-skiing!) in various lakes throughout Northern California. My dad taught my sister Ann and me how to clean the fish, and my mom (a native of Boulder Junction, Wisconsin, The Musky Capital of the World) showed us how to cook it. It’s a simple recipe that tastes delicious. This is down-home cooking–even when you’re away from home!
Fish filets, 1 pound
Cornmeal, 1 2/3 cups
Flour, 1/3 cup
A dash of seasoning salt
2 Eggs, beaten (optional)
Oil (I used rice bran oil for this batch of fish, but any vegetable oil will do)
Mix flour, cornmeal and seasoning salt together in one bowl. In another bowl, mix eggs with water. Heat oil in a skillet. Dip each fish filet in the egg/water mixture (or just plain water), then dredge both sides of the filet in the cornmeal/flour/seasoning salt mixture. Place in skillet and cook until golden brown on each side; the fish should be opaque (not translucent like when it’s raw) when you nudge it with a spatula. Remove each filet from pan; place on paper-towel-covered platter that will absorb excess oil.
Serve with tartar sauce (made by mixing together mayonnaise and pickle relish in a small bowl). Fried fish tastes great with sides of rice and steamed vegetables, crusty French bread and your favorite beverage.