Wednesday, July 26, 2006

roly poly fish heads



i've unintentionally turned into a michigan food blogger these last two posts, and i haven't even waxed philosophical on the finer points of donut holes yet! don't worry, friends, you'll see THAT post before the summer is out.

one of the places i can't wait to visit up here is bortell's fish market. it's hidden on the lake road south of ludington, just around the curves north of bass lake. they have a lovely array of fresh, pickled, and smoked fish for purchase, but the best part is that they'll lightly batter the fish right there, and fry it up for you to eat on the way home or at picnic tables under shady trees. the fish experience i look forward to is the fried smelt-- on the photo of fresh fish they are on the far right. essentially, they are little fish with their heads cut off, but otherwise intact. fried up, they taste like fishy french fries-- fins, tails and all. i love the little fellers!

the next thing i get is a nice container of pickled herring in wine sauce. this takes a couple of days to nibble through this as it is soooo rich. i bought a bit of smoked whitefish, and although this is not my thing, my kids love it.

i'll squeeze in at least one more trip before heading home, a memory to last a year.

8 comments:

J said...

I must admit, I'm intruiged by the fried smelt...

Mr. L said...

Sorry, I can't join you in your smelt affinity. At an early age I decided they were accurately named!

"It's very rich" - those were code words in my family for "we adults don't want to waste this GOOD food on kids."
:)

Susan in Italy said...

Hooray for Melissa food blogging! Keep it coming. Those smoked fish remind me of some little fish and shrimp shacks (aptly named) in the less fancy areas of Chicago. Yum! And are smelt the same as sardines? They look like the stuff they fry here to eat as snacks too. Also yum!

hellomelissa said...

hello everyone!

j, i wish i could beam you a batch to try.
mr. l, you don't know what you're missing!

and susan, according to my expert father, smelt run in freshwater rivers, and to catch them, one dips a basket into a river while going upstream, and the smelt fill the bucket. they call it "dipping for smelt." so i guess it's a freshwater equivalent to saltwater sardines.

Susan in Italy said...

Thanks for the info, Melissa. Now how about this one: Who sang that song in your post title, "Fish heads, fish heads, rolly-polly fish heads,....eat them up, yum!"? I remember the pioneering video, but not the band. I'mn thinnking early 1980s dawn of MTV.

hellomelissa said...

my kids love that song! it's by barnes & barnes, and was part of a comedy album. maybe a between-video diversion-- definitely early mtv. one of my favorite early mtv skits was a punk boy & girl sitting on a curb, and the guy says, "nobody likes me" and the girl says, "well i like you oliver!" and he says, "nobody GOOD likes me."

Mr. L said...

Hey, I have the vinyl picture disc of "Fish Heads"....

Anonymous said...

One of the three most awesome fish markets in the world!!! The smoked chubs are fabulous! Fried smelt are also a favorite of mine.