Darin Laabs is activities director and assistant principal at Princeton High School. He grew up in Ironwood, Mich., and enjoys hunting, fishing and coaching his children in youth sports. He and his wife, Beth, have a daughter, Taylor, 15, and sons Tommy, 13, and Tate, 11. Beth is an educator in media and technology in Elk River.
Laabs, in his fourth year in his job, said it is challenging and fun and his activities director position keeps him the most busy. The challenges in that job are usually related to the weather, the sporting opponents or behavioral issues, he said. It is also challenging when officials don’t show up for games, he added.
Laabs said if he could change anything in Princeton, it would be to have a sports complex that could be used by both the schools and the community. The district has great spaces to put on varsity sporting events but lacks enough green space and gym area for sports training, with the exception of tennis, where the courts were expanded to 10, he said.
Laabs’ recipe is from his late great-uncle Helvar, who was Finnish. “It’s how he used to make fish for us and how I got hooked on walleyes,” Laabs said.
Deep fryer or deep pan
finely crushed cracker crumbs
Note: Laabs doesn’t offer amounts for each ingredient. Use enough flour and cracker crumbs to coat your walleye fillets, and use an amount of seasonings to suit your taste. Also make sure to remove all bones from the fillets. Laabs also likes to remove the skin.
Beat the eggs in a large bowl and set aside. Combine the flour, garlic powder, salt and pepper in another large bowl and set aside. Place cracker crumbs in a third bowl. You can make the crumbs by placing crackers in a gallon size freezer bag and running a rolling pin back and forth over the top.
Heat oil in fryer hot enough so that when dropping a piece of cracker into the oil, it will crackle and pop.
Coat each fillet by first dipping it into the flour and seasoning mixture, then into the beaten eggs, and finally into the cracker crumbs until well coated. Drop two walleye fillets at a time into the hot oil, heavy side of fillet first to keep from curling when cooking. After cooking 3 minutes, turn fillets over and cook another 3 minutes and then remove. The fillets should now be brown on both sides. Serve with fresh lemon juice.
Option: Sprinkle either Lawry seasoning, or cajun-style seasoning over the fried fillets, according to taste. You may also sprinkle lemon juice over the fish.