One of the best things about Ukrainian Christmas, since I am not Ukrainian myself, is the food.
And one of the tastiest foods you find on many tables at that time of year is pickled herring. I could eat it as a meal with a couple of slices of toast.
So why not pickled pike?
Why not indeed?
As mentioned previously the 'Y' bones which remain in a pike fillet are one reason many discount the tasty fighter which resides in most local area water bodies. Pickling is a way to soften the bones to make them less of an issue.
While catfish, walleye and perch are really so good fried up in butter you are not likely to want to pickle those, pike limits are such you should have a couple to pickle after most trips out.
This was another new undertaking, so it was back to the Internet to search out a recipe.
As it turned out pickling is pretty straight forward.
You start the process cubing the pike fillets.
Those then go into a salt water bath for 24 hours.
Throw out the water, rinse and cover the fish with vinegar. The chunks soak in the vinegar bath for an additional 24 hours.
Gather some clean jars, we used pint, but larger will work since pickled fish will last for some time in a refrigerator once opened, so you do not have to eat it all the first day.
The chunks of fish go into the jar creating layers alternating with layers of sliced onions. You want to pack the contents snugly.
Once the jars are packed, pour over the brine. Again there are variations on this so do some searching.
After adding the brine the sealers are closed with sterile lids.
After that it is a matter of time. You can try the pickled pike in a couple of weeks, although you will want to wait longer if you want the 'Y' bones softened.
Which brings us to the Thanksgiving Day-taste test.
If you enjoy pickled herring, a Christmas season favourite for me, then pickled pike will be right up your alley.
While I might suggest the first jar would have benefited from another week to let the pickling flavours soak into the pike, which is a denser fish, it was still mighty tasty.
Pickling certainly is another great option to enjoy pike a fish that deserves more interest in terms of enjoying what you catch.