This is perhaps the most basic fish recipe, one every fisherman should have in his or her arsenal. When it comes to fried fish, I prefer breading over batter in most cases. Smaller fillets from fish like bluegill and crappie are overwhelmed by the heaviness of batter, and lets face it: there are some awful batter recipes out there. When I bite into a freshly fried fish fillet (how ’bout that alliteration) I want a bit of crisp, a little spice, but mostly I want to taste flaky, white fish. So here ’tis.
Pan Fried Panfish
- 1 1/2-2 lbs of fish fillets (breading will coat approximately this much fish, but your mileage may vary)
- 3 cups yellow corn meal
- 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 2 tsp paprika
- 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp finely ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 2 eggs+1 tbs milk
- Peanut oil for frying
- Preheat a cast iron skillet or some other heavy bottomed frying vessel over medium heat. Monitor the temperature with a deep thermometer. 375° F is perfect.
- While the oil is heating, sift the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Lightly beat the milk and eggs in a separate bowl.
- When the oil is up to temperature, dip the fillets in the egg bath, then dredge in the cornmeal mixture. Fry until golden brown, turning once or twice. Smaller fillets may only take a minute or two per side, larger ones 3 or 4 minutes.
- Drain on a paper towel lined plate and serve with lemon wedges, tangy cheap ketchup and cold beer. Some prefer coleslaw or hushpuppies on the side. I like my fried fish with a side of more fried fish. Serves 4 to 5 hungry people.