Outdoors Column: I Enjoy Food

Some people are picky eaters. I am not one of those people. If I see some food I have never tasted, I must try it. Some people are afraid they will get something in their mouth they do not like. I am just the opposite. I am afraid there is something delicious I have not tried and might miss out on the best thing in the world if I do not sample everything.


Having friends that live in Cajun country and a son that lived in Singapore for several years, my wife and I have experienced many new and interesting dishes. Most people know of my predilection and make a point of bringing something from their locality that we are unable to get here when they visit. On a recent trip to our place from Southern Louisiana, our friend brought several pounds of fish he had caught. One bag contained four fillets of redfish. Most people, if they have heard of it at all, only know of blackened redfish. This is a good way to prepare redfish with quick frying in creole seasonings, but I thought I would try smoking it.


As well as eating things I do not know about, I also cook things when I have no idea what I am doing. Most of the time, it works out. After thawing the four fillets, I had five pounds of fish with skin on. I sprinkled a bit of Cajun seasoning on them and let them season over night. In the morning, I set the smoker to 200 degrees and put the fillets on with the skin side down. Having no idea how long to smoke them, I put the thermometer in the thickest part and smoked them until the internal temperature was 160 degrees. This took about six hours. The end result was delicious. The meat was soft and flakey in the thicker areas. The edges were crispy and dry, much like fish jerky. The seasoning was just right. If a person does not have a recipe, blind luck helps.


The next recipe I try with redfish will be curried fish heads. This is the national dish of Singapore and is much better than it sounds. Fish heads look bad but really are good. I do not know what the people in Singapore do with the rest of the fish, but they all eat the heads. Since I do not have fish heads, I will substitute filets, which I am sure will taste just as good and will look much better. I believe in making substitutions in recipes. Last week I was well into making a recipe of coconut milk, curried chicken before I realized we were out of both curry spice and coconut milk. I am not sure how much different it turned out since I never tasted the original, but it is not bad with regular milk substituting for coconut milk and cayenne for curry.


Over the years, I have cooked a lot of fish and wild game. I have never followed a recipe the way it is written. Sometimes I have made completely original creations. Very rarely have I made something that was not edible, but then again, I am not a picky eater and really enjoy food.