Trout with morels, ramps and fiddleheads is a classic combination – all are in season at the same time, and in the same place. Even in the High Sierra, we have our own rendition, with bracken fiddleheads and Sierra wild onions. I call this dish Sierra Spring.
Live long enough and you will start forgetting about all those fish you’ve caught over the years. It takes a rare combination of time, place and fish to vault one from that nameless school and into your memory. It all came together recently for me in Nevada with a monster trout.
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.
Butterflying, also known as splitting or kiting a fish, is a basic skill you will want to know, especially when dealing with smaller fish. It keeps the fish whole but largely debones it. The technique is ideal for either quick pan frying or for stuffing the fish, in this case a trout.
Chowder for me has always meant my mum’s clam chowder — to make it properly, you absolutely must follow an ironclad set of rules with an ironclad set of ingredients. But mum does not make salmon chowder. So when I began making it, I suddenly felt free to play. And play I did.