Naperville Eats: Cooking the catch of the day
Judy Buchenot Buchenot@comcast.net
Jim Duplex gets his first batch of fillets ready for the grill before cleaning up a second walleye caught the day before. | Judy Buchenot~For The Sun
1/2 cup crushed almonds
1 cup bread crumbs
1 egg beaten
1 cup flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound Walleye fillets
Mix almonds and bread crumbs in a bowl. Dip fillets in flour, then in beaten egg and finally in almond and breadcrumb mixture. Coat a frying pan with a thin layer of olive oil. Place fish in pan and cook for three minutes. Flip and continue cooking until fish is tender.
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
Mix breadcrumbs, cheese and oregano. Beat one egg and salt in a small bowl. Dip fillets in egg and then into breadcrumb mixture. Pour olive oil in frying pan. Add fish and cook for 3 minutes. Flip and continue cooking until fish tests done.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 onions, diced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 bay leaves
2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cubed
5 cups chicken stock
15-ounce can of corn, drained (optional)
3 pounds fish fillets cut into bite-sized pieces
1-1/2 cups heavy cream
Place butter, onions, thyme and bay leaves in the bottom of a pot. Cook until onions are soft, about 8 minutes. Add cubed potatoes and chicken stock. Cook 10 minutes. Potatoes should be soft but still firm. If stock has not thickened, crush a few potato cubes and cook a few minutes longer until thickened. Add corn if desired. Add fish fillets and cook until tender. Add cream and cook until heat until mixture is warm.
1 pound fresh fillets
2 slices onion
1/4 cup chopped green peppers
Coat fish fillets with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic
salt, pepper and basil. If cooking in a frying pan, place onions and green peppers in the pan with a thin layer of olive oil. Cook till tender. Add fish. Cook until fork is inserted without resistance. To cook on the grill, coat and season fillets as for frying. Place on a sheet of aluminum foil with onion and peppers. Place a tablespoon butter on top of fillets. Wrap fillets in foil. Place on grill for five to seven minutes or until fish tests done.
Naperville resident Jim Duplex has been fishing since he was a child. He fashioned his first fishing pole from a bamboo stick and caught his first blue gill in the neighborhood park. He continued fishing for many years, but his goal was always the same, “I wanted to catch one big fish,” he says.
Although he gave it his best effort, the big fish seemed to always elude him. Then one day, he picked up a book by Elwood “Buck” Perry, which changed his approach to fishing.
“Most people view the lake as a big bowl with fish in it, but that is not accurate,” Duplex says. “Buck Perry developed a theory that fish follow a certain path. By mapping the lake, you can find the fish, and once you find the fish, you can catch them.”
Perry called his method “spoonplugging” since the lures used have a spoon shape. “The key to spoonplugging,” Duplex claims, “is knowing the right depth and speed.”
Perry’s method calculates multiple factors, including basic movements of fish, lake features, water conditions and weather.
“There is no magic lure or magic pole or magic boat,” Duplex says. “Mapping the lake is the key to interpreting; interpreting is the key to knowledge; knowledge is the key to success; and success is the key to satisfaction.”
Once Duplex employed spoonplugging methods, he started catching those big fish. He belongs to a spoonplugging club, and the 30 members freely share information with each other about local lakes.
Duplex now catches far more fish than he can use, so he throws many of them back. He first snaps a picture holding the fish before it goes back into the water though. His photos are a testament to his skill — many of the fish are enormous. He also has videos of some of his fishing adventures. On a recent trip to Heidecke Lake in Morris, Ill., Duplex caught a 20-inch walleye that he brought home.
“If you catch ’em, you need to clean them,” Duplex says. “I can fix fish a million different ways, but I like it best on the grill.”
Duplex proudly showed off his recent catch and began to clean it.
“You shouldn’t wash the fish until you are ready to cook it,” begins Duplex as he deftly removes the skin from the fish using an electric fish knife. The skin comes off in one smooth strip and Duplex flips the fish over to skin the other side.
“I wrap up the skin and leftovers in newspaper and bury it in my garden. It is great for the soil. I have to bury it more than 9 inches deep, though, or critters will dig it up.”
Some of the trimmings also go to his cat who appreciates the fresh catch.
“It doesn’t take long to cook fresh fish,” Duplex notes, “so you have to watch it closely. When you stick a fork into the fish, you can feel a little resistance. When the fish is done, the fork goes in with no resistance at all.”
When asked how often he fishes, Duplex replies with a grin, “As often as I can.”
As a retired music teacher, he has more free time than most and tries to get out on a lake about 10 times a month.
Here, he shares several of his simple yet delicious recipes, which he uses on his catch of the day.
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