Sunday, April 27, 2008

Delicious Gudgeons from the Gunpowder River

Each year, quite specifically when the dogwoods are in bloom, the gudgeons spawn. I know to find them in the Gunpowder River northwest of Pulaski Highway. Quite possibly they're in corresponding sections of the Little Gunpowder and Winters Run, though I haven't had time to check.

When caught using baby garden worms for bait and the tiniest hook possible---try to find a 16 hook---one could just as well be fishing for minnows, of which gudgeons are considered a species. They look much like smelt, but are even smaller: likewise when cooked once they've been scaled, beheaded and gutted. Eating gudgeons, however, is a different story because unlike smelt, these tiny gudgeons are likely to be judged as unbelievably delicious according to just about anyone's palate.

I dip my gudgeons in buttermilk and then into flour that's been seasoned with salt, pepper, and a little garlic salt. Then I fry them up at medium high heat in a mixture of butter and vegetable oil before briefly crisping them on paper towels. The only way to eat gudgeons is with your fingers, and it's important to remove their tiny backbones when doing so. I even cook the roe, saving it from from every gudgeon, washing each one, and then combining them all into a little ball which is observable in the center of the picture at right.