Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Slow Fish Sunday

From the country...
On Sunday I slogged myself over the slushy ice with my Dad and the kids in tow on Lake Simcoe for the annual Slow Food fishing trip. This is a trip that Mark coordinates every year with chefs and foodies alike to venture out on a frozen lake in hopes of bringing home some fish for dinner.

This year executive chef, David Chrystian from Victor Restaurant(, chef/ owner Mark Cutrara from Cowbell Restaurant (, Paul Decampo, Convivium Co leader of Slow Food Toronto (check out locally or internationally) were the guests along with the usual ice fishermen, My Dad, Mark, our friend Brent and his fish wise father Norm. And then there was the boys and I. I am not a fisher woman by any means; actually this was probably the 2nd time being out ice fishing.

I am not a risk taker or a thrill seeker and the thought of me going down through a pressure crack on a four-wheeler to an icy cold death scared the hell out of me. And bringing the kids along for the ride didn’t help either. I was assured repeatedly that it was fine that the ice was ultra safe and there were no worries. Trust is not something I issue out freely but I decided to bite the bullet and give it a try. I was laughed at when we arrived at the hut because over the down filled winter jacket of my youngest, I had secured a bright red life jacket. This was apparently not proper ice fishing attire. I didn’t care though if Lucas were going down through the whole in the ice, at least he would bob on the surface.

It didn’t help that as we were slowly driving out on the four-wheeler through super slushy snow, I spied a truck up to its headlights in slush slowly sinking into the lake. The whole time we were out on the ice, he just stood there helpless wondering whether he would be going home driving or walking. I felt a ting of remorse for him but that was quickly replaced with the question, what was that guy thinking? Had alcohol impaired his judgement and now he just had to hope and pray that someone could help him. That a tow truck from the shore could pull his truck out of the rut and slowly bring in to land? Is it still there today or did it sink?Anyway back to our day. We had a great time out on the ice fishing for Perch. From what I learned, Perch swim in schools and if you have a school come your way, you’re in the money (or rich with fish anyway) and not to blow my own bugle or anything, but yours truly caught the 2 largest fish of the day. The boys caught some fish, which kept them entertained, and in the end over a hundred fish were brought home to fry. Now lets talk about the meals. On the ice, David brought a super yummy curried goat stew with some fresh Bratwurst and chorizo sausages, heated on a camping stove and a hunk of baguette. Mark had made some corn nuts by frying our hominy for snacks and there were some really beautifully sweet/tart blood oranges that Paul brought which were sampled. We left early, all in all only staying a few hours. After Lucas’ 2nd fit, it was time to hit the road. I came home, made a loaf of bread and whipped up a peach blueberry crisp with fruit from the freezer. When everyone else arrived they began the tedious task of cleaning the perch and after cleaning 100 perch fillets Mark placed them in the prepared beer batter and hit the hot oil. Along with the splendid fried perch fillets we had red cabbage coleslaw, homemade preserves (mustard pickles, pickles and pickled garlic scapes), Black River aged cheddar with Evelyn’s Currant in the Rye crackers (, and fresh bread.

The perch were the shinning star though with its delicate flavour and crispy batter. Everyone left the table feeling satisfied (with David Chrystian as the exception because he is deathly allergic to fish…). There is nothing more gratifying than pulling fresh fish out of the lake in the morn and devouring it in the evening. It was a long day with the last bite being taken at ten thirty at night, but the flavours and the journey made it taste so sweet and memorable.


  1. laura...what an awesome experience. And the pic of the fish coming out of the water is magazine-worthy. fantastic.

  2. Thanks Meg!
    It was fun but I am glad to be back on land! Your carrot cake looked fantastic!

  3. goooood pics!

    I bet the boys had so much fun.


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