Fried Crappie with Orange Pineapple Salsa
I have been a pan fish freak of late. Not sure why, but I know that I am enjoying myself. I have a new recipe for the site and hope everyone enjoys. I know that I enjoyed making it! Keep the food real folks!Let’s face it; the yield on pan fish is low. I almost feel bad when I fillet a crappie or a big bluegill. You take the tough fighting little fish out of the water and then end up with barely any meat. To increase yield scrape the spine with a spoon for extra meat, on a big batch of fish this can lead to a whole extra meal for the family. It is the respectful thing to do when harvesting. I normally use my scrape for items like ceviche, tacos, pastas and salads (think tuna salad sandwich with crappie, yeah, it’s good).
YouTube has lots of really good videos on how to fillet pan fish. Watch a few and then take up the act yourself. It’s fairly easy and when you get the hang of it you can pound out the fish very quickly. I scale the fish most times but skinless fish work just fine too. If you’re like me and the catch is almost always limited in quantity than it is a good idea to get the most out of your $50 fish.
Orange and Pineapple Salsa
1 ea large orange, cut into segments¼ pineapple, peeled
1 tablespoon Chipotle Tabasco or Cholula
Cut the top and bottom off the orange about ½ inch up. This should allow the orange to stand on one end. Set orange on a flat side and then proceed to “peel” the orange with the knife, making sure to remove a little bit of the orange flesh. The goal is to remove the white section of the orange that is bitter and located closest to the skin. When “peeled” you will notice the orange has vertical lines running down it. Slide the knife into those lines and remove the “segments”.
Dice the pineapple. Add orange segments, pineapple, salt, pepper and chipotle Tabasco to a small bowl. Toss and refrigerate until needed to top the fried crappie.
10 crappie fillets, scaled and ready to fry
4 cups canola oil
¼ cup flour
¼ cup corn starch
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
Heat a thick pan, such as a Dutch oven, on medium until it reaches 350 degrees. A candy thermometer is handy for this. If you don’t have a candy thermometer use a wooden spoon. When inserted into properly hot enough oil it will throw off bubbles and float in the oil. Don’t let the oil smoke.
Mix the flour and the seasoning in a gallon sized zip top baggie. Wet the fish a little under the sink. Then add the fish, one at a time, to the gallon bag of flour and spices. Shake the bag like a Polaroid, evenly dispensing and coating the fish in the breading.
Remove from breading and lay flat on a lightly floured plate. Slide each fillet into the hot oil very carefully. Fry for 2-3 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to a paper towel lined plate. Serve with asparagus and orange pineapple salsa.