- Wild Game
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I write. I fish. I dig earth, raise plants, live politics and kill wild animals. I drink bourbon, wear seersucker or Wranglers with equal aplomb and wish I owned a farm. But most of all I think daily about new ways to eat anything that walks, flies, swims, crawls, skitters, jumps - or grows. I am the omnivore who has solved his dilemma.
There’s a saying in fly fishing that catching a fish is the goal, but not the point of that particular obsession. Deer hunting in the West is the same thing. It’s been a tough season so far, but it ain’t over yet.
You asked, I answered. I am teaming up with the California Waterfowl Association to host a weekend of duck hunting and duck cooking in California’s Delta this January. It’ll be hunts in different places, duck processing and cooking classes, and I’ll be cooking dinner.
It’s fennel seed time here in NorCal. We have wild fennel everywhere here, and now is the time — before the first real rains — to gather the seeds, which have dried nicely.
I am fascinated by Nordic cooking, in no small part because it’s a cuisine of scarcity – and scarcity fuels innovation. Here in NorCal, we live in the soft, warm center of the world’s cornucopia. As I try to form my own personal style of cooking, I find myself looking for scarcity among abundance.
Kelp pasta. Not pasta made from slivered kelp fronds, but real pasta with homemade kelp powder added. It makes a briny, emerald noodle that I served with the Pacific rockfish that swam among the kelp, along with summer vegetables. It’s a culinary experiment worth repeating.
In hot weather, a cold, crunchy-spicy-acidic ceviche really hits the spot. I make it all the time. But you just can’t make ceviche with any old fish. Any parasites living in the fish will survive the citrus bath. Here’s my ceviche recipe and how to make your own ceviche without fear of parasites.
I’ve fished for tuna, off and on, my whole life. But the more you fish, the more you understand how different the fishing can be from place to place, even for the same species. This latest trip off the Mexican Coast was, well, a learning experience.
This is a classic Italian recipe they use with pigeons, but it will work with squab, doves or even teal, too. Roasted birds, chopped fine and stuffed into an egg pasta, served with juniper butter with rosemary.