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What to do with Crappie & Bluegill? (Besides frying that is)

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We usually roll the fillets in cornmeal and deep fry. However, in what is hopefully not another vain attempt to lose weight - I would be interested in some alternative methods of preparing.

The fillets (frozen from fishing vacation in OtterTail County,MN) range from palm size to a bit smaller (good frying size). Thanks!

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  1. It doesn't get any better than fresh bluegill and crappie caught through the ice. I envy you.
    Dusted in flour, fried in butter. How can you even look for an alternative? Trade a night in heaven for a few extra days in dieting hell.
    I know, that was no help. I just thought it needed to be said. ;-)

    2 Replies
    1. re: Bobfrmia

      I agree - I feel that I'm committing sacrilege by even comtemplating anything else.

      Unfortunately, the fillets are not fresh from ice fishing - but rather frozen from our July vacation. While they are never as good as they are up there in Minnesota, fresh off the lake - they are still pretty darn tasty come Lent. It also helps that I wait 'til Lent to have them again - the memory of their taste (when freshly caught)is not as recent in my mind. So the comparison is not as harsh.

      1. re: Bobfrmia

        Not really helpful to OP, but better would be dusted in a mix of flour and fine cornmeal, and fried in bacon fat.

        Helpful to OP, would be to suggest a very light dusting of your favorite dry rub and pan-sear very quickly- kindofa blackened thing.

      2. Soak them in milk, coat with flour and fry? I think you're crazy not to fry, but you could use them in any recipe that calls for a firm, mild white fish - think tilapia. Because of how thin they are, the cooking time would be less. A soy sauce based marinade and put them under the broiler. Have any limes and garlic - panfish ceviche?

        1. My advice if you are looking for healthy preparations is to find good sauce/salsa recipes.

          You could pan sear the fillets or broil, cooking quickly to keep it tender. Then top with a sauce -- something strong tasting where a little will go a long way, or something low-cal like tomatoes, capers, olives, onions, a little oil,herbs, etc.

          oooh, or maybe you can top them with a crab meat mixture that can get brown in the oven. Or do a nice layered casserole with roasted vegetables and topped with bread crumbs.

          And remember, those lakes are full of those little fish so you can fry some up after your next big haul :)

          Good luck with the healthy eating!!

          1. I've had luck baking somewhat dry freshwater fish (i.e., northern pike) in a covered container or in wrapped foil and smothered with some tomato sauce that's been zipped up a little with some garlic, onions, and tidbit of green pepper. Probably would work with panfish fillets, also. Of course, they'd have to bake much longer to cook completely, compared to the quickness of frying.