Jamie Oliver

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#1 Fri 13 Jul 07 10:23pm

Oxquo

Member
Member since Fri 13 Jul 07

The Perfect Pike

After getting through the bones if one can, the trick is to get through that swampy fishy taste and the soft mushiness of Pike. There are few more fun fish to catch and now I will help You enjoy Your next adventure even more. First off I want to say conserve Your resources. Take only what we call hammer handles being in the 2-4 lb range, any smaller and You'll have a hard time de-boning them and any larger You are cutting into some good spawners for next year. Being a voracious predator though there is always plenty that are quick to take Your lure in the good eating size range.

   There are many good diagrams on how to clean pike in a boneless fashion on the internet. For Me I see 4 great fillets on a pike and one back section which makes an amazing fish broth for soups. De-boning the back is a pain and very time consuming, here is how I do My pike followed by the recipe that is absolutely tasty.

   First cut out the fatty belly with the fish on its side, start from the neck straight across and cut a sort of boat shape that includes the removal of the pectoral fins down past the anus. Just follow the white and this will be simple. Now flip the fish over on its open belly, this makes for great stability as well. By the way, if you like the belly meat You can always start with a cut from the anus straight up to the base of the neck for the first cut, it's really a preference. With the pike on its slit belly angle Your knife at 45 degrees just behind the head and cut down to the spine, straghten Your knife now to follow the spine to just before the dorsal fin. This thick strip of Meat I use for either stock or Raven food depends on Your needs. You will now notice the spine and beside it a row of Y-bones on each side. At this point i like to make a cut around the neck to the belly on both sides and two more cuts about 1/2" in front of the anal vent. With the fish back on it's belly angle Your knife so it goes lengthwise down the fish and starting from the head make short quick strokes from the skin into the Y- bones. Too sharp of knife may go right through with alot of pressure so take care here. I like to start both sides evenly and follow down along the Y-bones till You hit the ribs, often You can just peel the meat off the rest of the way from here. Now make a slice across the side of the fish in the tail region, I start about 1/2" past the anal vent again. Cut straight down to the backbone and then follow the backbone to the tail but don't cut off yet. Flip the fish and do the same on the other side. Now peel the tail skin off each while they are attached. A dry rag comes in very handy with pike as they are very slippery as does pre-soaking the fish in very cold water prior to cleaning as this both stiffens the fish and reduces the slime.

   Now You can skin the front two fillets and if You left the belly meat on cut around the pectoral fins from the inside and follow around the round pec bones.Once skinned double check for bones by bending the fillet in half and running Your finger across the cut lines, also check in the shoulder reason for sharp points, these occur when You cut too close to the head and gills.
  As for the tail sections, make small soft cuts in the wide part, You may feel bones or resistance in Your cuts, move your knife down a little each time till You cut straight through each fillet. Rub Your thumb along the cutline to make sure there are no sharp bones left. Incase You cut too hard along the spine there may be a bone line down the middle of the fillet, this can be cut out or left to soften from cooking as it is mostly cartilage.

   There You have 4 boneless fillets and one great piece of soup stock meat. I will follow up with an great tasting recipe which You may enjoy alternating and substituting ingredients, the key to the recipe is the marinade which eats away a bit of the fishy smell.

Northern Pike Done Just Right

6-8  fillets of Pike 2-4 lb range (Thats 2 fish done the way above)
4 cups of water (I prefer R.O. for lack of chlorine)
2 TBSP Lime juice freshly squeezed
3 TBSP Lemon juice freshly squeezed
6-8 fresh cilantro leaves chopped fine or bruise slightly
6-8 Thai or sweet basil leaves chopped
3 cloves of garlic finely minced or shredded
1-2 tspn black pepper
2 TBSP coarse salt (sea salt preferred)
3 tspn sugar
3 tspn hot sauce or one chilli pepper minced
1 Onion finely chopped
1 Good handful of chopped dill (dill and fish are like salt and pepper together)

Mix all ingredients, i like to shake them up in a clean pop bottle or milk jug. Place fish in bowl and pour marinade over fillets as you place them in the bowl. Swish fillets around to make sure all sides are exposed to the marinade. Cover and let rest overnight and up to 2 days in fridge, stir fish occasionally. When you are ready to cook the sky is the limit. I have broiled the fillets, poached them and one of My favorites is to place them in tinfoil with a little marinade on the barbeque for 10 - 15 minutes. Coating them in egg and dipping them in flour makes for the perfect flavorful fry. I prefer to fry with veggie oil but sky is the limit here.

   Enjoy, the filleting takes a little practice but You'll catch on quickly with practice. Make sure to serve this to anyone who says the would never eat pike they will be amazed.

Last edited by Oxquo (Fri 13 Jul 07 10:28pm)

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#2 Sat 14 Jul 07 1:33am

GeoffP

Forum champ
Occupation Retired Clergy & Computer Consultant
From Bradford, West Yorks
Member since Mon 03 Jul 06

Re: The Perfect Pike

Good grief - it must be 45 years ago that first cooked my pike I had caught myself!

I recall that my mum taught me that the best way to serve pike was to first cut it across into steaks, then leave it soaking in a strong brine solution to supposed muddy taste.

In fact, she was wrong - pike doesn't have a muddy taste, since its not a bottom feeder, but rather is a predator.

Tgese days, I prefer pike quenelles:-

Pike Quenelles
   
Ingredients

            1 pound Pike Fillets
            1 cup Whipping Cream
            2 Egg Whites
            1 Lemon -- Juiced
            4 cups Stock (Fish, Chicken Or Vegetable)

             

      Directions

      Place the pike, cream, egg whites and the lemon juice in a food processor and puree  until smooth.
      Form 18 quenelles, by placing 1 tablespoon of fish mixture in the palm of your hand.
      Smooth it into an oval,
      Scoop up the fish mixture with a tablespoon and gently place it on a plate.
      Repeat to from all the quenelles.
      Place the stock (you can add white wine if you have some handy) in a large pot. Heat to a  simmer.
      Add all the quenelles and poach until tender, approximately 7 minutes.
      Remove the quenelles and keep warm on a covered plate.

Last edited by GeoffP (Sat 14 Jul 07 1:42am)

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#3 Sat 14 Jul 07 6:38am

Oxquo

Member
Member since Fri 13 Jul 07

Re: The Perfect Pike

Do you de-bone the pike first? Personally aside from anchovies I can't take  grit in My food so blended up bones wouldn't cut it for me, but it sounds like the recipe is well worth a try. As for muddy pike, often they are muddy as they stay in quite shallow water close to their prey and can adapt not only the muddy taste in some rivers and lakes but also terrible parasites in the warmer months. Best way to tell with any fish is to give the gills a good sniff before bagging them up and taking them home. If they smell extra fishy or show up more pink than red release them and try for another.... Cheers.

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#4 Sat 14 Jul 07 11:18pm

GeoffP

Forum champ
Occupation Retired Clergy & Computer Consultant
From Bradford, West Yorks
Member since Mon 03 Jul 06

Re: The Perfect Pike

Yes -its necessary to debone it - pike bones can be very sharp.

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#5 Sun 15 Jul 07 12:36am

Oxquo

Member
Member since Fri 13 Jul 07

Re: The Perfect Pike

I had just thought that the fish was blended in an attempt to abolish the bones. I know a few asian folks that do the cross cutting in the meat and then soak in a heavy acidic solution for 3-4 days in order to soften bones on both pike and carp. I Myself am a carp hugger so I only know about Pike. Anyways I'll be going out tonight so Maybe I'll give that recipe a shot for tomorrow.

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