"I caught you this delicious bass!"- Napoleon Dynamite
I took my girl to class and had a couple of hours to myself. On a whim I decided to hit the water on my kayak and look for lures that might be snagged in the trees along the stream while I fished. I found three lures and four bobbers in a half hour!
The stream was beautiful in the evening sun.
I tied up one of the jigs I had found, cast my line out, and in a few minutes I had a heck of a fight and landed my first bass ever!
The next day I had some business in a neighboring town and on my way back I took the scenic foragers route.
I gathered some fennel, bay leaf, and was delighted to find that one bush of manzanita (Arctostaphylos) was in fruit.
I gathered up some of the green fruit with red blush in preparation to brew an ancient California indigenous recipe- manzanita cider.
Manzanita cider is really more of a tea or agua fresca than a juice, but I really liked it! If you want to give it a try, I recommend Seaweed, Salmon , and Manzanita Cider...a California Native American cookbook. These are simple recipes for those who are intimately connected with California's wild side. This book has local culinary roots from indigenous cultures who have foraged, survived, and thrived here in the far west for millennia.
Then I gathered up some lambsquarter and sautéed up the pot herbs with bacon and onion.
Next I took a little walk to the local fig tree and picked a hand full of those same honey-sweet figs.
Finally, it was time to cook the bass. Using the fennel and bay leaf to impart a nice local flavor to the fish I set the fillet in the skillet to sizzle.
When I say that this was one of the best lunches I have had all year, I mean it! The whole time I kept saying out loud between bites "Oh man that's tasty!"
Well, I hear the high desert calling me...I suppose I should answer.
Keep the old ways alive!