Friday, January 30, 2009

The Ice Fishing continues...

This is an epic year for ice fishing on Cayuga lake! The ice is thick in the channel, and the perch are abundant. Here is an easy recipe to oven "fry" your perch fillets.

Oven Fried Perch Recipe
• 1 lbs. Perch Fillets
• 2 Tbsp. Parmesan Cheese - grated
• 1/2 Cup Dry Bread Crumbs
• 1 Tbsp. butter, melted
• 1/4 Cup Milk
• 1/2 Tsp. Thyme
Combine bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, and thyme, plus salt and pepper to taste, in a shallow pan or plate. Dip perch fillets in milk then coat perch fillets with bread crumb mixture. Lay in single layer on greased shallow baking pan. Drizzle with melted butter. Bake in oven at 400 degrees for 12 minutes per inch of thickness of the fish measured at the thickest part or until perch flakes easily with a fork. Serves 4 with only 200 calories per serving and 5 grams of fat, but 110g of cholesterol (next week' recipe will be lower in cholesterol, seeking balance and moderation in our wild harvest diet).

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Ice Fishing on Cayuga Lake

Ice Fishing is in full swing at the top of Cayuga Lake. Perch,Chain Pickerel, and panfish are the most common species coming through the ice, but occasionally you can fight a big Pike or lure some tasty trout. Check out the NY DEC website for ice fishing and safety tips.
Here is a recipe to try after a successful day on the ice...

Perch Chowder
6 sl Bacon; cut into 1-inch (could use 2T olive oil instead to lower fat content)
2/3 c Onion; chopped
1/2 c Celery; chopped
3 md Potatoes; peeled and cubed
2 c Water (fish or chicken stock would add more flavor, but use what you have)
1/2 c Carrots; chopped
2 tb Fresh parsley; minced
1 tb Lemon juice
1/2 ts Dill weed
1/4 ts Garlic salt
1/8 ts Pepper
1 lb Panfish fillets; perch; sunfish, or crappie, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 c Half-&-half cream (or condensed skim milk to lower fat content)
In a 3-quart saucepan, cook the bacon until crisp. Remove bacon, and set aside; discard all but 2 tablespoons of drippings (omit this part if using olive oil and just add olive oil to pan then proceed to next step). Saute onion and celery in drippings until tender. Add the next 8 ingredients. Simmer until vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes. Add fish and bacon; simmer for 5 minutes, or JUST until fish flakes with a fork. Add cream, and heat through.
recipe adapted from Just Seafood Recipes, located at

Perch is a very lean source of protein and an excellent source of selenium and B12, though it is a bit high in cholesterol.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Waterfowl season has just ended...

The top of Cayuga Lake is frozen, and the waterfowl hunting season for duck and Canada geese has ended in Seneca County . Hopefully you have some ducks to breast or dress whole to eat and enjoy. I have taken to the simple way of breasting a duck by making a small slit in the skin along the breast bone, pulling the skin back to expose the breast meat, and then removing the meat by carefully running my boning knife along the breast bone and ribs to create 2 perfect skinless, boneless breast fillets. The flavor of duck varies, depending on the species, age and condition of the duck. Mallards, teals, black duck, redheads, pintails and ringnecks are excellent for eating (and of course the Canvasback, but they were prohibited this year- no cheating), and of course, the younger the better. A 100 gram skinless, boneless duck breast will provide you with 123 calories, 4 grams of fat, and high quality protein.

Here is a recipe to try from your weekend larder....


4 boneless wild duck breast halves

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

3/4 cup dry sherry

2 Tablespoons seedless raspberry preserves (you could try other fruit, such as cherry, currant, blueberry, etc)

2 Tablespoons butter

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 teaspoon fresh minced garlic (optional)

Sprinkle the duck breast evenly with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, combine the sherry and fruit preserves. Set aside. In a 10-inch skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add breast halves and sear for 3 minutes, turning once. Add onions (and optional garlic) to the the pan and cook for 2 minutes longer. Pour sherry mixture over the duck breasts. Cook for 4 to 8 minutes, or until meat is desired doneness and the sauce is slighty reduced and thicker. You may remove the meat, when it is rare to medium rare, to a plate and cover loosely with foil, and then reduce the sauce to a desired consistency. To serve, slice breast meat and slightly fan out the slices over cooked noodles or rice. Pour the sauce over the meat and pasta. Garnish with some fruit and greenery.

note: duck meat is more tender when cooked rare to medium and can become tough if over cooked.

Serves 4, but some may say just 2 servings (I can think of one hunter in particular). If you would like nutritional consultation regarding serving sizes please call my office at Seneca CCE, but keep in mind a portion of meat should be 3 ounces which is about the size of a deck of cards.