This is one fish that has succeeded at stumping me. I've never eaten it before, and the person who gave it to me (2 pkgs approx. 1lb ea, frozen) said he doesn't know what to do with it, so thought he'd give me some so I can try and figure something out with it...he can't eat it...too strong for him. It's a very strong and heavy flavor...I knew this up front based on what I was told...but just how strong and heavy? Oh, I had no idea. I have over 3/4lb still marinating after a fry-pan test of two strips which marinated for 21 hours @ 33-34*. Marinating time is now over 75 hours with an average temp of 36* (I re-adjusted my fridge temp and let it warm up a bit) for the remaining strips, but I have no desire to continue this pursuit with the existing marinade...the fry test (no additional seasoning, fried in butter and drizzled with lemon juice to taste) yielded a flesh that was so overwhelming, I can't bring myself to smoke it...can't decide what wood could possible make this any better, as I don't have a good flavor to start with...it doesn't seem it could end well. The aromas while frying probably told me more than I wanted to know...failure. The taste from the fry test vaguely reminded me of salmon, mixed with channel cat, but mostly something else of which I care not to mention...I could barely taste the lemon at all and only on the surface, it was that strong...confirming what I already knew from the smell. I didn't want to re-season after marinating, as I want to taste the marinade...if I can't, then marinating is all for nothing. I have 1 more package still in the freezer while I try to decide what to do with it.
Here's the marinade:
(for 1lb of Paddle Fish strips)
4 Tbs Italian Dressing
4 Tbs Lemon Juice
2 Tbs Worsty Sauce
1 Tbs Sesame Oil
1 Tbs minced Garlic (from jar)
2 Tbs Frank's Red Hot Sauce
2 tsp crushed Red Pepper
1 tsp ground Black Pepper
I figured a little heat would help take the edge off of the strong flavor, but that was monumental failure...I couldn't even tell that there was anything hot in this marinade.
Just into the marinate, partially frozen:
After tossing a few times over about 30 minutes at room temp to finish thawing:
The remains are still in the fridge, covered, and going nowhere anytime soon...(insert sigh here).
This was fairly well seasoned, yet it seemed to offer little to nothing for enhancement of this fish. There was no flavor from the hot sauce, crushed red pepper, or anything from the Italian dressing, including vinegar...the lemon flavor was almost totally non-existent, even with drizzling more over the strips after frying. The sesame oil, garlic. black pepper and worsty sauce had very limited impact on the overall flavor...this is one mean and seriously stout flavored fish...I've never experienced anything like it. I know that my fridge temps were a bit low for marinating, but felt that with the longer time I allowed, it should have balanced things out....that didn't happen at all.
I thought about doing a brine first, then thought a marinade over a longer exposure time may be a better route for this adventure, feeling that instead of drawing flavors out with salt that I should enhance them, instead. And, no, I could not find any info here on SMF about this creature, odd as it may sound. So, that's it...if I think of another seasoning blend or method for the other package of fish (or if someone has something else to offer that can take better control of the flavor profile than the above recipe), maybe I'll have a chance at enjoying this Paddle Fish, but right now, I can't eat any more of it...I managed to eat the 2 strips I fried, and I had to stop with that. I'm still amazed at how strong that flavor was. I've eaten a few things over the years that were a challenge, but this tops the list.
I may need to fully thaw and pound the strips with a mallet before the next attempt at a brine or marinate...give it more surface area to soak into the flesh of this fish...I guess that's a start, anyway, but what to season it with...that's the question. I may split the last package into 2 or 3 separate batches and do one with a brine, the other with a marinade and the third with a heavily seasoned beer batter and fried. This just may be one fish that isn't a good candidate for smoking, regardless of preparation treatments...dunno. I have lots of time to figure it out ('til the fish is destroyed from being in the freezer too long), but, man, I'm stumped...and I hate to lose...LOL!!!
Any thoughts on how to proceed?