In the Philippines we ate seafood several times a week. My grandfather’s favorite dish to make was called “Jumping Salad”. It was fresh shrimp (still jumping around) with oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. I thought that was gross but then again my brother and I would fight over who would get to eat the eyeballs from whatever fish was prepared. I sometimes envy people who live in coastal areas because of the easy access to fresh seafood. I could easily go to Whole Foods to purchase some but I think I should explore what Wisconsin has to offer. Trout, walleye, and perch are locally found here and are extremely popular for Friday Fish Fry’s. A week ago we bought some yellow perch from Coolwater Farms at the farmer’s market (Lois from Marr’s Valley View Farms has recently started carrying yellow perch). Sadly, it was already deboned, filleted, and fresh frozen. No eyeballs. Aquaculture is a growing sector of the economy here in Wisconsin. Coolwater Farms is the closest fishery from where I live as far as I know. It is in Deerfield which is only about an hour and a half away.
Last year, we went to Tian Jin, a Chinese restaurant in Chanhassen, MN. I had something called “Boiled Fish” and it was just spectacular unlike it’s name. Our plan was to try to recreate the dish using the yellow perch.
- 1 lb. yellow perch (from Coolwater Farms)
- 8 ground thai chilies (from the Madison Farmer’s Market) *will yield about 2 heaping tablespoonfuls
- 1 t. grated ginger
- 1 T. minced garlic
- 1 T. fish sauce
- 2 T. kecap manis (sweet soy sauce)
- 1 T. miso paste
- 1 whole onion
- 2 T. oil
- 1 c. water
I used a wok to make this dish. Fry the ground chilies slowly in the hot oil about a couple of minutes, add ginger, garlic, and then the onions. Cook until the onions are a little bit translucent. Add miso, the sauces, and and water. Bring to a simmer and add the fish. Cover and slowly braise for a few minutes.
We enjoyed the dish with some garlic stir fried cabbage and some Korean sweet potato noodles. The dish turned out pretty well.
For more information on fish in the area visit the Wisconsin Aquaculture Associaton page. Please let me know if you have a favorite recipe using local fish and also where I could get some smoked fish from the area.
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