Duck fat adds another luscious dimension to this dish, plus duck fat and potatoes love each other
so much, they should get married. Really. Watercress flourishes in or near springs and flowing
water in every state except Hawaii, so look for it when afield, as its sassy, peppery crunch makes
this quick hot breakfast or lunch extra-special.
1 (10 to 12-inch) sunfish
2 to 4 tablespoons duck fat
6 small potatoes, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
2 small onions, peeled and halved
Freshly ground black pepper
To prepare a fresh-caught sunfish, hold the fish upside down with the head toward you, and use the
tip of a fillet knife, pointing so that you won't puncture any internal organs, to open up the fish. Slit
from just below the jawbone down the ventral (bottom center) line, between the two pelvic fins, and
all the way back to the anal fin. Use a finger or two to reach in and remove the gills and entrails.
Remove the eyeballs. Holding the tail down against a flat rock or cutting board with one hand, use
a downward-facing teaspoon in the other hand to scrape off the scales, working in long strokes from
the tail toward the head. Rinse the fish thoroughly inside and out, and pat dry with paper towels.
Heat the duck fat in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over a campfire or over high heat on the stove and
add the potatoes and onions. Cook the fish in the hot skillet over high heat for 2 to 3 minutes, until
the bottom side is golden brown and the skin starts to crisp. Turn and cook the other side for 1 to 2
minutes, or until crisp.
Add the potatoes and onions back to the skillet to warm them through. Remove from the heat, and,
if you like, garnish with watercress before serving.