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Mmm-mm

A bowl full of fresh caplin. What more could you want?

 

I had two steaks ready to take from the fridge to have for supper on

Sunday when our neighbours came by with two five-gallon buckets of

caplin they'd just caught on Caplin Cove Beach, about a km away by

water. They used cast nets and pretty quickly got what they wanted and

headed back home across the Arm. They offered some and I took this

bowlful. I immediately set to work cleaning the fish. And an hour

later, the two of us ate half of them for supper; the other half I

froze in water for a later date.

 

I never used to clean caplin -- just wash them and cook them. They

are about eight inches (20 cm) long at the longest, and they don't

have much in the way of guts. This time of year they are often filled

with roe or milt. The females pretty well exhaust themselves on

beaches (this is why Caplin Cove is thus called), so in the water (in

contrast to on the beach) you get much higher proportions of males.

But of the, say, sixty fish here, two were females who had not yet

dumped their eggs. My father used to scoop or squeeze that roe out

onto his finger like butter and eat it, straight from the fish. I'm

not so adventurous. In fact, now I don't eat the heads and guts

either. I cut and washed all that away before cooking or freezing.

 

My recipe this time was very simple. I melted some butter on a sheet

of foil on a baking sheet on which I placed the caplin after they'd

been tossed in a bag with some panko crumbs and pepper. I drizzled a

little more melted butter over them -- just a few drops off a fork on

each one, and baked them for eight or ten minutes at 425 F. Then I

blasted them for a couple of minutes with the broiler to crisp them

up. The tails are especially delicious crisped up like that.

 

When I can get dried caplin, I still eat the heads and guts -- the

heads, like the tails, get a little crispy when dried. Mmmm.

 

The steaks waited another day to be cooked and eaten.

 

Four-years-expired Kodak Advantix APS 200 film in Nikon Pronea, with

the flash firing.

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Taken on July 9, 2012