For your dining pleasure, the Whitefish Roll

16 09 2011

The Maine lobster roll has long been something of a mystery to me. They’re certainly tasty. But why take an ingredient like lobster, which has a rather sweet and delicate flavor, and then proceed to smother it in mayonnaise? Anything would taste good smothered in seasoned mayonnaise.

I’ve pioneered (so far as I know) an alternative with a uniquely Michigan twist: smoked whitefish. Making the whitefish roll is even easier than making the lobster roll linked above (it’s the recipe I used, with some minor variations), provided that you have access to smoked whitefish. It won’t work with fresh whitefish for the same reasons that I feel that lobster falls short of expectations: it’s too mild.

It would have made a lot more sense to post this before Labor Day, but the end of summer and the yearly move-in process put a kink in my plans. Plus, who wants to read two posts about whitefish in a row? Anyway, here goes:

First, debone the whitefish. It should flake pretty easily, but there are a lot of small bones to watch out for. Swallowing one kinda kills the dining experience, so put in some effort here. Remember, it’s easier than cooking a lobster.

Next, make the mayo. It’s a simple process that everyone should learn, but it does require some patience. While the recipe calls for a canola/olive oil mix, I’d probably go with straight canola if I made this again. The hint of olive oil somehow didn’t seem to fit in.

That's just about all there is to it

To complete the roll, take the whitefish and mayonnaise and mix them together, place the mixture in a bun, and top with arugula.

That that, you lockjawed Downeasters

I’m not sure if I’d call this a culinary breakthrough, but I certainly enjoyed it. The smoky saltiness of the whitefish cuts through the mayonnaise, but isn’t overpowering. And no, the arugula wasn’t added because I’m a food elitist; I thought its bitterness would contrast with the filling nicely. The weakest link here was probably the bun, which probably should have been a fresh hoagie bun or something a bit more distinctive. Next time I get my hands on some whitefish, I’ll experiment.

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4 responses

17 09 2011
Who Needs Lobster; We’ve Got Whitefish « Great Lakes Gazette

[...] Read all about it at his blog post, For your dining pleasure, the Whitefish Roll. [...]

17 09 2011
Gary Knowles

Hmmm..sounds tempting Graham! I got referred her by your Mom’s excellent blog. I just enjoyed (shared with my wife) a great filet of brown-sugar smoked Lake Trout we bought at Newago’s fish store in Bayfield, WI. Others sell it but this is the best smoked/surgared combo I’ve found. I like the idea of a Whitefish Roll Shack, but I’d think you’ll need a good deal of traffic to make it worthwhile. I’d suggest you might want to try it over in the Traverse City area where you seem to have a higher number of fat wallet foodie types rather than in the UP. If it works, I want the Door County concession – they need something to give some competition to the fish boil – whose success over the years ought to give you some strong support when you go to the bankers for your business loan. Wishing you enough success to go get that Tucke to use for a delivery vehicle!

17 09 2011
Gary Knowles

Ooops — that should be “Tucker” –delivery vehicle

20 09 2011
KathUsitalo

I’ve never noticed brown sugar smoked Lake Trout. Sounds yummy…will have to look for it in the U.P.

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