October 2017
Your Next Meal From the Wildside

A Fishing Tale to Go With a Few Easy Bass Recipes

 

Cason Kirk with the 1-pound Redeye bass he caught.

My son Cason had come straight to the house from fishing at the creek with his dad, and he was pretty grimy from head to toe. Cason made fishing look like a full-contact sport. Because he was so wet and dirty, I thought they might have been putting out lines instead of using poles. Cason said they used poles and he had also been playing in the creek, but he also had a fishing tale to tell.

In his story, his line got caught on a log, so he swam out to unhook it. Instead of retrieving his line, he floated away into super deep water and "drownded." Cason said he was finally saved when his dad reached out to him with a fishing pole and pulled him back to safety on the creek bank.

Cason had shared this exciting story even before he had stripped off his wet clothes and was allowed to come inside.

Then he asked, "Hey, Mom! Do you want to see the alligator?"

His fishing story was adventurous enough without talk of alligators. Cason is only 7 years old and he still has a wildly creative imagination. I figured that maybe he had found a large lizard, an unusual insect or maybe an alligator gar.

However, once they both got inside the house, the sighting of a 3-foot alligator was confirmed by Jason. Luckily, they never saw the mom or dad. I was thankful Cason didn’t try to bring the baby alligator to our house to keep as a pet. Instead of a live gator, he brought home a 1-pound Redeye bass from the creek to cook on the grill.

He was hyped up to get his fish on the grill for dinner. He wanted to go straight to the table, but I made him take a bath first. I told him, by the time he got himself cleaned up, the Redeye would probably be off the grill and ready to eat.

It so happened, on the same day Cason brought home that bass, one of our freezers lost power and everything in it began to thaw. We had to start cooking the freezer’s contents or risk losing our reserves.

By the time Cason’s bass was wrapped in foil and covered with lemon butter and Creole seasoning, I had already placed a large wild turkey breast in a dish, drenched it with Italian salad dressing and added a layer of an entire pound of bacon strips. I baked the turkey breast until it was cooked through and the bacon was crisped.

It was a good thing I had started cooking our endless freezer buffet for our next meal because, when it was time to eat, Cason wanted the bass all to himself with ketchup. Cason had survived his creek adventure of high water and alligators, and that Redeye was hard-earned. The rest of us had the turkey.

Here are a few recipes for fresh-caught bass, including Cason’s quick and easy grilled version.


CASON’S CREOLE BASS

1 medium bass, filleted
Creole seasoning
Butter, melted
Lemon juice

In a small bowl, stir butter and lemon juice together. Add Creole seasoning. Adjust amounts as needed to taste. In the center of a piece of aluminum foil, place fish. Fold sides of foil up. Pour mixture over fish. Sprinkle more Creole seasoning to taste. Tent foil over fish and fold so steam isn’t lost. Place on a grill with high heat. Grill fish until it is opaque and cooked through.


BAKED BASS IN FOIL

4 bass fillets
1 (1-pound) bag frozen broccoli, cauliflower and carrots, thawed and drained
1 teaspoon dried, chopped dill weed
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ cup chicken broth

Heat oven to 450°. Tear of pieces of aluminum foil large enough to make a packet containing a fillet and vegetables. In center of each piece of foil, place a fillet. Put ¼ of vegetables on top of each piece of fish. Sprinkle dill, salt and pepper over vegetables. Drizzle about ¼ of the chicken broth over each packet. Fold sides of foil to make a tent and seal top and sides. Place packets on a baking sheet. Bake about 20 minutes. Vegetables should be crisp, but tender, and fish should be opaque and flake with a fork.


FRIED BASS FILLETS

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
2 Tablespoons water
2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
½ cup seasoned breadcrumbs
4 Tablespoons cornmeal
1 pound bass fillets
4 Tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons butter
Lemon wedges
Ketchup

In a gallon zip-closed bag, combine flour, salt and pepper. In a dredging-sized dish, mix together bread crumbs and cornmeal. In a medium bowl, whisk egg whites and water together. Shake fillets one at a time in flour mixture. Then roll fish in bread crumbs. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, place oil and butter. Cook fish until it is golden brown on both sides and flakes easily with a fork. Serve with lemon wedges and/or ketchup.

 

Christy Kirk is a freelance writer who lives in Little Texas.