I had not actually heard of the alligator gar fish until recently (I guess I have led a sheltered life). The meat is quite tasty. It was a much sought after fish until the rise of the supermarket. It was at that time that the gar became a less desirable fish and became known as a trash fish. As commercial fishing caught on in our nation and grocery stores were the main place of our source of fish instead of catching our own, the gar was literally put on the back burner and not sold in grocery chains. Farm raised catfish, cod & whiting as well as other fish were caught in mass. Then bass fishing took off to new heights. Sport fishing became the norm and bass, catfish, etc. were the sought after fish. Gar was too easy to catch and the sport fishermen wanted more of a challenge. They are also a more tender meat as opposed to the tougher gar fish. However, more recently, the gar has been gaining in popularity and the cost in the market has been rising.
The gar fish has a backstrap of meat a little like deer (only the gar has two). Some people like to barbeque the fish while others like to grind the meat, season it and roll it into balls and coat and deep fry them. There are some great recipes at the end of the blog for you to try and enjoy. You will find them to be delicious!!!
The alligator gar is a primitive ray-finned fish. It has, unlike other gars, the mature alligator gar has a dual row of large teeth in the upper jaw. It gets its’ name from the appearance of these teeth as well as the fish’s elongated snout. The dorsal surface of the alligator gar is a brown or olive color, while the ventral surface tends to be lighter. Their scales are diamond shaped and interlocking. It is the largest species in the gar family and is the largest freshwater fish found in North America measuring 8 to 10 feet and weighing at least 200 pounds at maturity.
The food source of the alligator gar is found in several Southern U.S. states and are served in restaurants and are considered a delicacy or novelty food akin to the American alligator or crocodile. They are popular for public aquariums.
The fish is popular with bowfishers because of its size. It is usually found near the surface of a body of water. It is not particularly fond of open water. They prefer slow moving waters of rivers, bayous and oxbows throughout most of the year. The alligator gar is somewhat passive and solitary and feeds by lurking amongst reeds and other vegetation, ambushing its prey.
Now for some delicious recipes…
4 pounds chopped gar meat
5 potatoes, peeled, boiled and mashed
6 green onions, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 green pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 teaspoon tabasco sauce
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup flour
1/4 cup cooking oil
Mix ingredients well and pat into cakes. Dip the cakes into flour, and fry in hot oil until brown. Serves 8 to 12.
3 pounds gar meat
2 large onions, chopped fine
1 cup bread crumbs
1 cup mixed parsley and green onions, chopped fine
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Black pepper and salt to taste
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup cooking oil
Grind the meat in a meat grinder or food processor. Add one large chopped onion, the bread crumbs, parsley/green onion mixture, cayenne, black pepper, salt and eggs. Mix well and shape into balls (boulettes). Roll in flour. Heat the cooking oil in a large cast iron pan and brown the balls, stirring lightly. Add the other chopped onion to the pan, add 3 cups water and stir. Cook slowly for about 30 to 45 minutes
Serve over rice.
As always, happy cooking and eating.
From all of your friends at Cajun Country Recipes
Frances Mills, Cajun Country Recipes, 103 S Elms Street, Welsh, LA 70591 1-888-772-2586