how to cook hooligan

Hooligan, also known as eulachon or candlefish, is a small, oily fish that is primarily found in the Pacific Northwest of North America. It’s often enjoyed for its rich flavor and is commonly smoked or pan-fried. Here’s a simple method for cooking hooligan:


  • Fresh hooligan fish
  • Cooking oil (e.g., vegetable oil or olive oil)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Lemon wedges (optional, for serving)


  1. Clean and Gut the Hooligan:
    • Start by rinsing the hooligan fish under cold running water to remove any excess scales and debris.
    • Use a sharp knife to make a shallow cut along the belly of each fish to remove the entrails.
  2. Season the Hooligan (Optional):
    • Season the cleaned hooligan fish with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. You can also add other seasonings or herbs of your choice, such as paprika or dill, for added flavor.
  3. Heat the Cooking Oil:
    • Place a skillet or frying pan over medium-high heat and add enough cooking oil to coat the bottom of the pan. You can use vegetable oil, olive oil, or a similar cooking oil.
  4. Pan-Fry the Hooligan:
    • Once the oil is hot and shimmering, carefully add the seasoned hooligan fish to the pan. Be cautious not to overcrowd the pan; you may need to cook them in batches.
    • Pan-fry the hooligan fish for about 2-3 minutes on each side or until they become golden brown and crispy. The exact cooking time may vary depending on the size of the fish.
  5. Drain and Serve:
    • Remove the pan-fried hooligan from the skillet and place them on a plate lined with paper towels. This will help absorb any excess oil.
    • Serve the hooligan hot, garnished with lemon wedges if desired.
  6. Enjoy:
    • Hooligan is often enjoyed as a simple and delicious snack or appetizer. You can eat them whole, bones and all, as they are quite small and delicate.

Keep in mind that hooligan is known for its rich, oily flavor, so it pairs well with acidic or tangy accompaniments like lemon or vinegar-based sauces. Additionally, hooligan can be enjoyed in various ways, including smoked or grilled, so feel free to explore different cooking methods to suit your taste preferences.

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