I thought the ambiance was a cross between romantic and tacky. The darkness illuminated, just barely: firelit, as well as colored christmas lights. Wooden Cabin as well as deer’s head bolted to its side. Hot cider as well as Budweiser and whiskey. Homemade caramel with toasted pumpkin seeds over vanilla ice-cream, as well as box-mix chocolate cake with Betty Crocker Frosting (the two complemented each other excellently, as boxed cake is moist and even more delicious a-la-mode). As someone else aptly described it, the ambiance was pure hokey.
Saturday night was maybe the most no-frills meal I’d helped prepare in a long time. Get a few friends who care about good food, a house, and a bunch of hands ready to help and the whole things will just come together. Food will be on the table, and it will be tasty. In this case, one person caught the fish, one person brought some meat from Grey Barn, a few others brought veggies and a couple of us brought dessert. Just about everyone brought booze (loved the whiskey and St. Germain–a winner combo).
Wouldn’t we all play host so much more if it were as easy as everyone bringing an ingredient and pitching in to make it happen? Potlucks and group cooking are why basic cooking skills are a must. Even if you are just mixing the drinks or dressing a salad 🙂
Cooking Fish Whole
This seemed daunting to me before I had seen it done. In fact it was super simple. The skin creates a natural protective layer that keeps the fish moist and from drying out, allowing us to put the entire blue fish on the grill without any foil beneath or around it. We rubbed olive oil and salt on its skin, and cut a slit through its center (horizontally, across the bottom of its belly) to stick in some aromatics. Garlic, lemon slices, rosemary–those are all good candidates. We stuck it on the grill and flipped it after about 12 minutes or so. The fish was more of less 12 pounds.
I was told that salt crusted fish is very easy as well, and it imparts more flavor into the fish (as it/s hard for the salt to penetrate the skin, unless you were t pre salt it much earlier than we did).
If you catch a big fish and want to get it right on the grill, the way we did it seems to be the quickest and easiest. Sauces on the side, like tartar or something else, is always an option to add in extra flavors afterward.