On the long leg sailing south from San Francisquito to Isla San Marcos in the upper middle Sea of Cortez, a miracle happened. Our trolling line snagged a dorado. Mahi Mahi to many people in the world, a dorado is a big, good eating fish! When they leap, they flash like a living rainbow, which belies their homely blunt headed shape!
Since the Sea of Cortez is famous for its fishing, you may ask what was miraculous about the catch. Well, there is the fact that the 2Cs aren’t the luckiest trolling fishermen. But the miraculous part was, about an hour after Don wrestled in a 49” fish, I went back and dropped the line back in again, thinking that there were a bunch of friends at our destination and, well, you know, it wouldn’t hurt to have fish to share….
Well, as my line was still spooling out I got a strike! Don just grinned, put his hands in the air and said, “This one’s yours, babe!” He strapped on the fighting belt and cheered me on the half-hour it took to reel the fish in!
Dorado makes great same day sashimi; it is great on the grill, with or without your favorite marinade; it is great in chunks in fish tacos; and it is excellent in fish sausage (see #15). But with two fish at once, that’s a lot of fish. If you don’t have a freezer and/or don’t really like frozen fish (our case is the latter), what can you do with it?
Cruisers, many of whom don’t even have a refrigerator, let alone a freezer, have the solution. You can make fish jerky or you can make pickled fish.
Don is quite fond of fish jerky. On Tackless II we usually make Jerk Fish Jerky (Hah!) using our favorite jerk marinade. Teriyaki is good too, adding wasabi or crushed red pepper if you like it hot and spicy. Use the nice thick part of the filet and cut fish into very thin strips, marinate the strips in your marinade of choice, then thread the strip onto monofilament line and suspend in the direct sun. In Baja the fish will dry in one day, at most two. In the Caribbean it took a bit longer (that was tuna jerky!)
• As a former dweller of the Big Apple, I have a taste for pickled fish. Lisa of Lady Galadriel introduced me to the recipe below which is taken from The Cruising Chef Cookbook by Michael Greenwald. The pickled fish will keep in the fridge for six weeks!
• Cut raw fish into cracker sized pieces, and place in a non-reactive, seal-able container.
• Make a saturated pickling salt solution by boiling ¼ cup salt in 1 quart of water until salt is thoroughly dissolved. (Kosher or rock salt is preferable, as table salt, although it works fine, discolors the fish. We all use table salt.) Allow the salt solution to cool completely, then pour it over the fish pieces and refrigerate over night.
• The next day, drain fish and cover with white vinegar. At this time you can add, if you like, thinly sliced onions, sliced carrots, hot peppers, or olives. Refrigerate another twelve hours.
• Make a pickling
liquid by mixing together the following:
• Bring to a boil,
strain (optional) and cool. Drain the vinegar from the refrigerated
fish pieces, and pour in the pickling solution.
Store in a sealed jar and refrigerate for another five days before