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Ma Says: Celebrate the Great Lakes Fishermen. Think Fish This Labor Day!

August 11, 2006

For many of us, Labor Day is a bittersweet reminder of summer’s passing and a day we often spend with friends and family. Throw some brats and burgers on the grill, pack a
cooler full of brews and you’re all set for a traditional Wisconsin holiday feast. This year, try something a little different with a historical twist.


Not so long ago, commercial fishing was a huge part of the Wisconsin economy. Great Lakes fishermen spent thousands of hours braving the waters and working year round in the best and worst of conditions, often proudly carrying on the family business. Today, many Great Lakes fishermen have been forced to hang up their nets for good. But fishing is not a lost art; many of us still fish for sport and sometimes get lucky enough to bring home dinner. So why not spend this Labor Day honoring all great fishermen before and among us by enjoying some seafood.


Seafood is gaining popularity as consumers recognize its versatility and health-benefits. For dinner, in a salad or right out of the jar, seafood is a nutritious, easy-to-prepare alternative to meat and poultry. “Shrimp, tuna and salmon are America’s three favorite fish,” says Kim Wall, a seafood expert whose company produces the
popular Ma Baensch herring. “There are hundreds of options for preparing these fish that are simple, fast and will satisfy any appetite.”


Wall’s recipes for easy seafood dishes make a terrific alternative to brats and burgers on the grill. Her seafood grilling tip: invest in a grill basket or cage. “Shrimp cooks perfectly in a grill basket and there is almost no clean up,” says Wall. “A hinged fish cage works great for whole fish and keeps fillets from falling apart on the


Not everyone wants to feel the heat of the grill, especially on a warm afternoon, but there are plenty of cold seafood dishes as well. Smoked trout, salmon spreads and herring are delicious cold appetizers or side dishes. “Seafood tastes so good with crackers and essentially takes no prep work,” Wall says. “Another tasty
dish is a seafood pasta salad with shrimp or even crab.”


So this Labor Day, let’s get back to our Wisconsin roots and celebrate the Great Lakes fishermen. Grill some fillets in their honor, make a delicious seafood pasta salad or set out some herring and crackers as an appetizer. You won’t be disappointed!




Broiled Whitefish with Balsamic Glaze (serves two*)
2 T Balsamic vinegar
6 T Honey
2 T Teriyaki sauce
2 Whitefish fillets, skin retained (usually ½ to ¾ pound each)
Green onions, diced optional garnish


Preheat broiler. Combine first three ingredients in a small sauce pan. Bring to boil on high heat. Boil three minutes stirring constantly. Remove form heat.


Place a sheet of aluminum foil on a large cookie sheet. Place fillet, skin side down, on foil. Spoon glaze evenly over fish.


Broil on high allowing approximately 8 minutes per inch of thickness. Check for doneness by using a thin-bladed knife to peek inside fish. When just a touch of translucence remains, the fish is done – it will finish cooking on the way to the table. Garnish with freshly diced green onions if desired.


*If you are making more than two fillets, place fillets side-by-side on foil and increase glaze proportionally.