Northwoods Fish Cookery


Ron Berg

The celebrated chef’s complete guide to delicious fish dishes.

A fishing guide and avid fisherman as well as an accomplished chef, Ron Berg brings together his love of the outdoors and passion for food in Northwoods Fish Cookery. The book includes Berg’s own fishing tips, humorous anecdotes, and lore from the Gunflint Trail, giving the book a crisp, northwoods flavor sure to delight outdoor enthusiasts and lovers of fine food everywhere.

Northwoods Fish Cookery is packed with easy-to-understand instructions for storing, preparing, and cooking nearly any kind of fish you can catch in Minnesota waters—with tips on how to cook over a campfire or in a cabin with a limited kitchen.

TC Taste

A fishing guide and avid fisherman as well as an accomplished chef, Ron Berg understands how the lure of wetting a line draws millions of visitors to northern lakes each year. In Northwoods Fish Cookery, Berg brings together his love of the outdoors and passion for food.

Informative chapters on fishing techniques and cleaning, preparing, and cooking fish—including campfire how-tos, shore lunches, and smoking tips and recipes—will be helpful to all. Novices and experienced fishers will learn simple ways to turn the day’s catch into meals such as Walleye Broiled in White Wine or Grilled Peppered Lake Trout, which can easily be prepared over a fire or in the cabin. Also included are an extensive list of delicious and easy-to-prepare appetizers, accompaniments, stuffings, and sauces. Who could resist Spinach Stuffed Tomatoes Gratinée or mashed potatoes prepared ten different innovative and tasty ways?

These recipes are not only for the avid fisher, however. Those who prefer to find their fish at the local market and prepare it in their kitchen will learn to make Bacon Hazelnut Stuffed Brook Trout with Wild Mushroom Sauce or Salmon with Champagne Basil Cream. Rounding out his own creations, Berg lists some of his favorite popular recipes from Minnesota restaurants and resorts, including Tofte’s Bluefin Restaurant and the Lost Lake Lodge of the Brainerd Lakes area.

Northwoods Fish Cookery includes Berg’s own fishing tips, humorous anecdotes, and lore from the Gunflint Trail, giving the book a crisp, northwoods flavor sure to delight outdoor enthusiasts and lovers of fine food everywhere.

Ron Berg is executive chef at the Gunflint Lodge, a premier northern Minnesota resort, and is coauthor (with Sue Kerfoot) of The Gunflint Lodge Cookbook (Minnesota, 1997). He taught high school English and worked as a fishing guide before becoming chef at the Lodge in 1990. His original dishes have been featured in many magazines, including Bon Appétit, Men’s Journal, and Midwest Living.

Northwoods Fish Cookery is packed with easy-to-understand instructions for storing, preparing, and cooking nearly any kind of fish you can catch in Minnesota waters—with tips on how to cook over a campfire or in a cabin with a limited kitchen.

TC Taste

More than a collection of recipes. Sure, the entrees that delight Gunflint Lodge guests are well-represented. You’ve got your broiled, baked fried fish. Your chowders and soups. Your stuffed fish and roulades. Your foil-wrapped fish packets in the campfire. But Berg also includes things like what can be made while camping or taking a short break from fishing, how to cook over fires and tips on what to pack when traveling light. There’s a whole chapter devoted to recipes suited to the fishing camp and cabin-simple ways to savor the splendor of the day’s catch. There are details on how to keep fish fresh in the field and how to best freeze it, make stocks and sauces and even 10 recipes for mashed potatoes. Sprinkled among the recipes and advice are stories, like the one about feasting on fire-roasted sweet corn slathered in freshly churned butter at his great-grandparent’s farm west of Minneapolis.

Duluth News Tribune

You don’t have to be an outdoors person or even a serious cook to want to read Ron Berg’s latest book, Northwoods Fish Cookery cover-to-cover. It’s a delightful change from the usual cookbook, seasoned as it is with humorous anecdotes of Berg’s life as a fishing guide and a bevy of helpful hints gathered from those experiences.

Your Life in the North Country

Fishing guide and chef Ron Berg puts a gourmet touch on the day’s catch from the waters of the north country in Northwoods Fish Cookery. Berg offers recipes that can be prepared at home, at the campground or over an open fire, but all with the touch that perfectly compliments the trout, bass, walleye, pike, salmon, muskie, whitefish or whatever other fish freshly pulled from the cool, clear waters of the north. He also includes lots of basic information on cleaning, freezing, canning, pickling and smoking fish and plenty of recipes for compliments to the fish dishes. Ass a bonus, Berg generously ladles out knowledge and lore gathered in decades of fishing the waters of Minnesota. Anglers and others who love fish will find plenty of pleasures in Northwoods Fish Cookery.

Post-Cresent (Appleton-Neenah-Menasha, WI)




Chapter 1. The Basics
Minnesota’s Game Fish
Filleting Northern Pike without Y-Bones
Fish Eating Advisories
Taking Care of Your Catch
The Wire-Snap Stringer Trophy Tragedy
Basic Fish Cookery at a Glance
Basic Baked Fish Fillets
Garlic-Parmesan Baked Fish Fillets
Canned Fish
Fresh Herb-Crusted Fish Fillets
Fish en Papillote
Panfried Fish Fillets
Basic Grilled Fish Fillets
Grilled Whole Stream Trout
The Ten-Minute Rule for Cooking Fish
Pickled Northern Pike
Basic Poached Fish Fillets
Roasted Whole Fish
Roasted Fish Fillets
Basic Seared Fish Fillets

Chapter 2. Camp and Shore Cookery
Canoe Country Fish Cookery
Backcountry Fish Fry
Wilderness Cocktail Sauce
Walleye Meuniere
Lake Trout Dijon
A Day in the Life of a Wilderness Fishing Guide
Backcountry Mojakka
Campfire-Grilled Game Fish Fillets
Campfire Cookery Wisdom
The Wilderness Chef’s Seasoning Kit
Gunflint Steak and Chop Seasoning
How to Make an Authentic Guide’s Shore Lunch
Peril from Above
The Guide’s Deluxe Shore Lunch Walleye Sandwich
Kenora Fried Potatoes
Shore Lunch Pommes Dauphine
Planked Fish
Planked Fish in the Oven
Campfire-Roasted Sweet Corn in Husks

Chapter 3. Fishing Camp and Cabin Recipes
The Great Minnesota Fishing Camp Breakfast
Golden Fried Fillets of Minnesota Game Fish
Scrambled Eggs with Wild Rice, Shiitake Mushrooms, and Red Peppers
Featherlight Corn Muffins
Before You Go
Crappie Club Sandwiches with Garlic-Chive Mayonnaise
Buttermilk-Fried Panfish
Raymie’s Panfish and Shrimp Bake
Foil-Baked Fish Fillets
Cashew-Crusted Walleye
Walleye Broiled in White Wine
Baked Walleye Amandine
Broiled Walleye with Parsley-Mustard Sauce
Lemon-Dijon-Butter Broiled Walleye Fillets
Broiled Salmon or Trout Framstad
Grilled Peppered Lake Trout
Fish Loaf
Things Too Fierce to Mention
Sautéed Northern Pike Livers
Sautéed Fish Roe
Fish Cheeks Prepared Scampi Style

Chapter 4. Appetizers, Soups, and First Courses
Beer Corn Batter–Fried Walleye Fingers with Green Chile Aioli and Cucumber-Tomato Relish
Wilderness Walleye and Shrimp Croquettes with Horseradish Tartar Sauce and Northwoods Dressed Greens
Puttin’ on the Ritz: Deep-Fried Walleye Nuggets and Morel Mushrooms
Northwoods Game Fish Chowder
Malaysian Steamboat with Walleye and Shrimp
Walleye and Pistachio Nut Sausage
Mediterranean Fish Soup with Tomatoes and Fresh Basil
Lake Trout and Wild Rice Sausage with Morel Mushroom Sauce
Walleye en Croute
Lake Superior Salmon Cakes

Chapter 5. Elegant Entrées
Walleye with Green Chile Stuffing
Cheddar-Crusted Walleye with Gold Garlic Mashers
Walleye with Green Chile Stuffing and Desert Paint Sauces
French-Fried Onion-Crusted Walleye
How Do I Tell When Fish Is Cooked?
Roasted Walleye Fillets with Tomatoes, Quattro Formaggi, and Pesto Sauce
Baked Walleye with Tomato-Basil Fondue
A Midsummer’s Eve Gratin of Walleye with Ripe Garden Tomatoes and Cheese
Walleye Stack with Julienne Vegetables and Dill Sauce
Wines to Serve with Fish
Walleye Stuffed with Salmon Mousseline on a Bed of Spinach with Champagne Sauce
Opening Day Walleye Fillets with Morel Cream Sauce
Ancho Grilled Lake Trout with Smoked Yellow Pepper Remoulade and Tomato-Basil Salsa
Roast Brook Trout with Chive Hollandaise Sauce
Simple Surgery: Removing Bones from Trout
Lake Trout with Ham, Leeks, and Orange-Butter Sauce
Gunflint Croutons
Bacon-Hazelnut Stuffed Brook Trout with Wild Mushroom Sauce
Roast Trout Stuffed with Lobster and White Wine Sauce
Asian Roasted Salmon with Sesame Crust, Ginger Beurre Blanc, and Tomato Concassé
Roast Rainbow Trout Stuffed with Fresh Garden Herbs and Chive Beurre Blanc
Salmon with Champagne-Basil Cream
Garlic-Butter Roasted Bass with Romano Crust
Baked Bass Fillets with Shrimp Provençal
Seared Bass Fillets with Fennel Mashed Potatoes, Fennel Jus, and Roasted Tomato Confit
Northern Pike with Champagne-Tomato-Basil Sauce
Catfish Creole
Cajun Catfish and Linguine
Seared Whitefish with Tuscan White Beans, Spinach Salad, and Tomato-Chive Vinaigrette

Chapter 6. Favorite Recipes from
Minnesota Restaurants and Resorts Angry Trout Cafe, Grand Marais Grilled Lake Superior Trout
Coho Cafe, Tofte Coho Salmon with Fresh Basil and Four-Cheese Alfredo Sauce on Spinach Fettuccine
Walleye Florentine with Confetti Alfredo Sauce
Bluefin Restaurant, Tofte Panfried Bluefin Herring with Almond-Parmesan Crust
Bennett’s on the Lake, Duluth Caramelized Salmon
Pancetta-Wrapped Rainbow Trout Stuffed with Caramelized Onions
Lost Lake Lodge, Lake Shore Lake Trout Oreganata
Parmesan-Crusted Walleye with Lemon and Capers for Two
Lake Avenue Cafe, Duluth Salmon with Peaches and Berries
The 510 Restaurant, Minneapolis Citrus-Glazed Salmon with Cilantro-Ginger Beurre Blanc

Chapter 7. The Smoker
How to Make a Backcountry Stick Smoker
Applewood-Smoked Peppered Lake Trout or Salmon
Northwoods Smoked Trout Benedict
Smoked Fish Potato Cakes
Smoked Tomato Puree
Smoked Tomato Vinaigrette
Smoked Tomato-Parmesan Linguine
Creamy Smoke-Roasted Onion Soup with Parmesan Cheese
Smoked Yellow Peppers
Cream of Smoked Wild Forest Mushroom Soup

Chapter 8. Accompaniments
Basic Risotto
Mashed Potatoes Ten Different Ways
Basic Mashed Potatoes
Fennel Mashed Potatoes
Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Garlic and Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes
Horseradish Mashed Potatoes
Parmesan Mashed Potatoes
Herb Mashed Potatoes
Roasted Wild Mushroom Mashed Potatoes
Mashed Potatoes with Cabbage and Green Onions (Colcannon)
Celeriac Mashed Potatoes
Northwoods Wild Rice Pilaf
Oriental Wild Rice and Spinach Pilaf
Pepper Parmesan Potato Salad
Smoky Chile BBQ Beans
Butter-Braised Cucumbers with Dill
Spinach-Stuffed Tomatoes Gratinée
Gene’s Chipotle Salsa
Chapter 9. Stuffings, Breadings, and Seasonings Summer Herb Stuffing
How to Stuff a Fish
Provençal Stuffing
Morel Mushroom and Asparagus Stuffing
Shrimp Stuffing
Spinach, Mushroom, and Parmesan Stuffing
Roasted Tomatoes
Northwoods Wild Rice Stuffing
Northwoods All-Purpose Breading Mix
Guide’s Breading
The Best Beer Batter
Beer Corn Batter
Three-Step Breading
Ron Berg’s Game-Fish Seasoning
Kosher Salt
Cajun Seasoning
Ron’s Creole Seasoning

Chapter 10. Sauces for Fish
White Wine Fish Stock or Fumet
Improved Clam Juice for Stock
Court Bouillon
Classic French Sauces for Fish
Fish Velouté
White Wine Sauce
Champagne Sauce
Sauce Mornay for Fish
Walleye Florentine
Cold Sauces
Basic Tartar Sauce
Jalapeño Tartar Sauce
Horseradish Tartar Sauce
Chive-Horseradish Sauce
Cocktail Sauce
Tomato-Basil Remoulade
Curry-Dijon Mayonnaise
Curry-Dijon Crusted Fish
Cucumber Sauce
Desert Paint Sauces
Fire-Roasted Red Pepper Remoulade
Smoked Yellow Pepper Remoulade
Green Chile Aioli
Mexican Crema
Compound Butters for Fish
Maître d’Hôtel Butter
Beurre d’Escargot Butter
Garlic-Herb Butter
Bercy Butter
Whole-Grain Mustard Shallot Butter
Butter Sauces for Fish
Hollandaise Sauce
Ron’s Beurre Blanc
Beurre Nantais