How to Fry a Whole Fish

Here in Indiana—and throughout a good portion of the Midwest—there is an abundance of sunfish (no, not like the Hoodwinker which I posted about yesterday) and many people have caught one, or two, and some have even eaten them. The most frequently caught (and eaten) variety are the larger ones, commonly known as: bluegill, rock bass, longear and warmouth among others.

The sunfish family includes the spotted bass, smallmouth and largemouth bass, and crappie

As for the eating part … admittedly, I’m on the fence. I’ve been told before that blue gill “make for good eating,” and that many Indiana restaurants sell the fish, but I have yet to find it on any menu and when I asked two different fishmongers about the species, they both independently concurred that it’s “not a fish they sell.”

Did you know sunfish caught in the Midwest are also called “panfish”—because they typically fit right into a frying pan

Still, if you’re out and about and catch a few, they are safe to eat and the fishermen and women I know all suggest frying it over an open flame, similar to how my family cooked trout when I was growing up—fresh from the river, flash fried, delicious. Here’s a few tips and a list of what you need to fry bluegill:

What you need:
Bluegill (obviously you need the fish)
Corn meal mixed with flour (one cup of each for 8 fish)
Salt and pepper (duh)
Oil, preferable canola
Cast iron pan

Score the fish along the backbone as you would trout. Dredge the fish, coating both sides evenly. Drop into pan of heated oil and cook until its golden brown, about 5-minutes a side. Remove from oil, let drain on paper towel or newspaper and that’s it! Serve with lemon if you’d like.

Find out more about Indiana’s Statewide Safe Eating Guide.

A note about my recipes … most of what I cook isn’t a precise science. It’s look, taste and feel. And I encourage you to cook the same way. Add a little more of this, or a little less of that … and pay attention … and before long you’ll be a wiz at cooking seafood.

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DISCLAIMER: I’m a writer and an editor. And I try my best to make sure every post is articulate and free from errors. However, being that I edit my own work—and it’s next to impossible to properly edit your own work—I admit, occasionally there may be an error or two I miss. But doing so doesn’t make me an idiot so don’t be mean. Just smile, pat yourself on the back for finding an error and be glad you’re not the only one who makes mistakes sometimes … yes, even mermaids slip up every now and then. xoxox <\small>