By Shel Zolkewich
If I didn’t love catching northern pike so much, lake trout would be at the top of my list. They’re beautiful, feisty and most of all—delicious. Because of their high fat content, lakers lend themselves well to smoking and quick grilling. Keep in mind that they don’t like to stay in the freezer for too long so eat them fresh if you can.
My recipe borrows heavily on a gourmet creation from Helen Webber of Webber’s Lodges (who also happens to be the author of a series of excellent cookbooks, www.blueberriesandpolarbears.com). A few years ago, Helen’s version arrived after an exceptional day of fishing at North Knife Lake Lodge. I suppose it was meant as an appetizer for the entire group of anglers but I admit to consuming over half of that hefty fillet—I just couldn’t stop. The sugar gives the fish a sticky sweet glaze while the bourbon warms the soul.
We’ll soon be into hard water season and luckily for us, lake trout co-operate when it comes to ice fishing. So pick your northern destination, drop a line and hope for a laker!
2 large lake trout fillets, skin on
¾ cup sodium reduced soy sauce
1 ¼ cups canola oil
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
¼ cup bourbon
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Generously dust fillets with pepper. In a large re-sealable plastic bag, combine soy sauce, oil, garlic, bourbon and brown sugar. Place the fillets in the bag. Marinade in the refrigerator for at least six hours and up to 12 hours.
Preheat your grill to high. Lay the fillets, skin side down, on the grill. Close the lid and cook for seven minutes. There will be smoke and sizzling and the skin will burn a bit. Remove from heat and serve with creamy dill sauce as an appetizer.
Creamy Dill Dip
1/3 cup Greek yogurt
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 clove of garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
2 to 3 teaspoons milk
1/2 teaspoon honey
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Combine all ingredients. Refrigerator for one hour. Serve.