Today was an adventure.
We went to Ottawa County, Oklahoma, for work. It’s the very northeast corner of the state; about three hours away from OKC. We are working on a story about Paddlefish, an ancient, native species to the Oklahoma river system.
Fishers can bring the paddlefish they catch to a place called the Paddlefish Research Center, which is run by the Oklahoma Fish & Wildlife service. While there, state workers clean, weigh, measure, and then fillet the fish. This service is free to the fishermen, who come out with a boatload of freshly processed fillets.
What’s in it for the state? You may be wondering.
Well, the state gets to keep and sell any roe that might be in the fish. It’s illegal in the state of Oklahoma for anyone other than the state to sell paddlefish roe. And guess what? They make a TON of money off of paddlefish roe. Why? Because paddlefish roe is very similar to actual caviar.
Russian caviar is roe that comes from the sturgeon, a fish native to Russia (mainly Lake Baikal), and is salted and typically tinned. Its black, tiny pearls cost a fortune, and that price is only going up—because sturgeon aren’t as prevalent anymore. The lack of supply of sturgeon is caused by overfishing, poaching, and high demand in the Western world. So, seeking alternatives, people have found other options for caviar…mainly, the paddlefish. And Oklahoma has a lot of paddlefish!
So, it was a fun day of shooting these gigantic creatures and travelling through the beautiful northeastern countryside.
Now onto food! I made these tasty little Spring popovers the other day. Mind you, I had never made popovers before. Ever. It was an experiment that I think I pulled off, even after two attempts and different oven temperature settings! It would’ve helped if I had a popover pan, but my regular-sized muffin pan worked just fine.
You can use fresh dill if you like, but I used dried dill weed because it was all I had on hand.
Lemon Dill Popovers
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp dill weed
- 1/4 tsp grated lemon peel
- Heat oven to 450 degrees. Generously grease the bottom of a muffin or popover pan. In medium bowl, beat eggs slightly. Beat in remaining ingredients just until smooth (be careful to not to overbeat!).
- Pour mixture into muffin tin, filling up about half full.
- Bake for 17 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Bake for about 15-20 minutes longer or until golden brown and “popped” out of pan. Immediately remove from pan and serve warm!
These little guys were so easy, but I was terrified I was going to mess them up—which I think I did the first batch, but I still ate them! I’m going to keep this in mind when I don’t have any bread to serve at dinner because most of these ingredients I have on hand 24/7 in my kitchen.