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We had some epic frog gigging last week up at Lake Tahoe. Yeah, I know, not a place you’d associate with hunting bullfrogs. But that just made it more fun. And once we got ‘em, I just had to cook the frog legs in the classic French method. Call me a frog, eh?
One of the cool things about salmon is that it is rich enough to make rillettes with, especially when you use belly meat and the trim from around the bones. This is a pretty classic version, with both smoked and fresh salmon or steelhead trout.
Ya gotta love ice fishing in California. First of all that it exists, second that you can fish through 2 feet of ice wearing a T-shirt, third that you can catch gorgeous rainbow trout. And when you do, you should treat them simply – with brown butter, parsley and lemon.
Salmon and sorrel sauce is a French classic, a harbinger of spring. This is my updated, albeit fancy version, done with steelhead trout from the American River. Getting the fish cooked perfectly is pretty easy with this method. It’s the sorrel sauce that’s tricky.
There is something about the combination of poultry and apples that just sings. This dish, Pheasant Normandy, is loaded with apple flavor and is larded with butter and cream. It requires no special technique or esoteric ingredients — it’s pure comfort food, and all it asks of you is a little time.
Nothing says luxury like a smooth, creamy lobster bisque. Sadly, I live 3,000 miles from Maine lobsters, but I do live near some of the best crayfish spots in America. And lemme tell ya, this crayfish bisque is every bit as good as one made with their big brothers.
The common meadow mushroom has not been so common for me; I’d searched in vain for years to find them. Until last week, when Holly came home with a bushel of the mushrooms we call “pinks.” I cooked them up using a classic Escoffier recipe, and lemme tell ya: It was worth the wait.
Anyone who knows me will not be surprised at all to learn that the first thing I cooked from the yearling antelope I shot in Wyoming was the shanks. I love me some shank. Since the meat was so light and tender, I cooked the shanks “forty garlic clove” style, like the famous chicken dish.
I love crepinettes. Think of them as sausage patties wrapped in a blanket of fat. Alas, I rarely get to make them, as I don’t really buy meat much anymore. But when I shot a wild pig this past spring, I got myself a surprise: wild caul fat!
If there is a fish in California waters more hated than a bat ray, I don’t what it is. “Everyone” says the lowly bat ray is inedible, but I know better. After all, a ray is merely a narrow-tailed skate. And skate sells for $20 a pound — when you can find it.