fresh lawyers in door county
I just had fresh lawyers for dinner.
Like much of what's found on menus here on Washington Island, lawyers are fish. They have other names in other places — burbot in other Great Lakes states, lingfiske in Scandinavian countries, mush fish in Ontario.
"They're considered a junk fish by lots of fishermen," said Ken Koyen, a fifth generation Washington Islander whose KK Fiske Restaurant puts up a sign touting Fresh Lawyers when its among the catch he brings in on his Sea Diver fishing boat. ( Fiske is fish in Danish.) It's a fish that must be skinned instead of scaled and Koyen brags he can skin a lawyer in 30 seconds.
Lawyer turns rubbery when its frozen and must be prepared within hours of being caught, so it's not considered a marketable fish. But when Koyen has it on the menu, people love to order it.
That's because its has a firm, almost sweet and nutty taste. Folks call it fresh water lobster. Because Koyen didn't catch a lot today, it was available only on the Captain's Platter at dinner tonight served alongside perch and whitefish. I thought it was delicious.
Why is it called a lawyer? I asked.
"Because it's heart is in its rear end," Koyen replied.