Friday, September 16, 2011

Mmm...Just Got Back from a Grand Haven Fish Boil

Went down to Grand Haven for a fish boil. Whole small potatoes and onions and a pile of locally caught salmon all slathered in an unholy amount of butter. It was held right off the charter boat docks off of the Grand Haven boardwalk that leads all along the Grand River down to Lake Michigan.

Boiled fish? Heck yeah. It's a Great Lakes thing, and it's fantastic.

Fish boils are a classic Upper Great Lakes tradition which I believe has its roots in Scandinavian quarters of Wisconsin. The culinary tradition generally revolves around native whitefish or lake trout, but when King Salmon was introduced to control the invasive alewives, King Salmon got added to the menu, too. That particular boom in salmon lead to a fast popularization of fish boils...hell, there were huge fish EVERYWHERE, and easy to catch. People had to do SOMETHING with 'em.

At one point fish boils were just about as common as BBQs in the summer and fall months. Go over to a friends house, bring some fresh caught salmon, boil it in a kettle with potatoes and onions.

Now, I'm sure many of my friends across Lake Michigan from me in Wisconsin would scoff at my notion of salmon fish boils rather than whitefish or lake trout fish boils, but those dudes don't know what they're missing.

Here's a fish boil recipe on the Food Network to try this out yourself. Pay no mind to the massive quantity of salt. That's just to lower the boiling point of the water. I promise, it's not really that salty.

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