They’re big. They’re ugly! But, oh, do they taste good!
Tastes like tender pork, meaty not fishy.
At least, that’s what we were told when we joined the paddlefish snagging mania in North Dakota on opening day, May 1, 2018. Tastes like tender pork, meaty not fishy. We were dumbfounded! A fish weighing anywhere from 25 10 125 pounds could taste good? Hmmm…..
When several fishermen brought in their catch for weighing, I thought I was joking when I remarked, “So, taste like chicken, huh?” No one was laughing, and several paddlefish-snagging-expert-looking guys eagerly offered their favorite ways to prepare these prehistoric creatures. In fact, a recipe book was offered, for free, from the guys at North Star Caviar.
Turns out it’s a great publication from the Montana State University Extension Service and it’s full of recipes that seem worth trying, even if you don’t have paddlefish. I’d try other fish as a substitution in some instances. Marinated and grilled, smoked, cubed and fried, gumbo, jambalaya, ….. the list goes on and on.
- 2 tsp. lemon pepper
- 2 tsp. garlic powder
- 2 tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. pepper
- melted butter
- 1 cup Italian dressing
- 1 Ib. paddlefish fillets
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the cayenne pepper, lemon pepper, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Brush both sides of fish with melted butter. Rub both sides of fish with seasoning mix. Place fish in a VERY hot heavy skillet. Cook on both sides for about 2 minutes until outside edges are slightly blackened. Arrange the blackened fish in a lightly greased baking pan and drizzle with 1 cup Italian dressing. Bake 30 – 35 minutes or until the fish flakes easily. Serve with pan juices.
- 4 Tbs. butter
- 1 large onion, diced small
- 1 large tomato, diced small
- 3 bulbs garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 2 Tbsp. curry powder
- 1 Tbsp. chili powder
- 1/2 Tbsp. Tabasco
Melt butter in a medium saucepan. Add onion and garlic and saute until onions are translucent. Then add tomatoes and cover, stirring for 20 minutes. Add spices and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Add the paddlefish and cook until meat is done.
**You can add different spices (ginger, turmeric, and coriander) but be careful about salt as there is a lot in the chili powder, Tabasco and curry powder.
Thanks to the Richland County Extension Office, Sidney, Montana (406-433-1206) for the informative recipe book!
By the way, the extension service is looking for more ideas about paddlefish preparation and recipes. Contact them here: Richland County Extension Service, 1499 N. Central Ave., Sidney, MT 59270 Phone 406-433-1206 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.msuextension.org/richland
Here are cooking suggestions from World Fishing Network: www.worldfishingnetwork.com/tips/post/how-to-prepare-paddlefish-spoonbill
And check out these recipes from Game and Fish magazine: www.gameandfishmag.com/recipes/smoked-paddlefish-recipe/
Let Us Know
Got your own favorite method for preparing paddlefish? Got a ‘fish story’ about paddlefish? Wanna share a snagging experience? We’d love to hear from you! Comment here, or message us at Beautiful Badlands ND
This is what it looks like in still photos when a paddlefish is snagged — from last year at Sundheim Park outside of Fairview, Montana on the Yellowstone River.
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