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>

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Hey there. I’m Shauna—a West Coast transplant in the landlocked state of Indiana … when I moved here I missed the beaches, the mountains, the desert, the rivers … and it took me a while to find places nearby that paralleled my old stomping grounds. BUT. Now that I’ve lived here for over 15 years, I’ve had time to explore the region and you know what? It’s amazing. There’s so much to do—from skiing in northern Michigan to relaxing lakeside in southern Kentucky to rocking the nightlife in one of the many metropolitan areas. And I love it here. I really do. BUT. I do miss the sea … and the sand and the rush of the waves … the smell of seawater … even the sting of too much sun after a day spent lollygagging at the beach. And I miss the constant supply of seafood and shellfish and riverfish? About that … since I’ve moved to the Midwest I’ve noticed that a lot of people here don’t consider fish that come from the river seafood … I’m not sure I agree, but hence the new word I’ve created, “riverfish” … time will tell if Webster picks it up ; ) So this little blog is my way of bringing a little bit of sea life (or is it sealife?) to the Midwest. Here you’ll find all kinds of information … some that you might find more useful than others—like where to find the best seafood (and riverfish) in the Midwest. And some, you might just find amusing … or not. Either way, and if nothing else, I hope you leave my little space here on the world wide web a little refreshed and maybe even a little inspired to bring a little bit of the ocean home with you. (Yes, I did use the word “little” four times in one sentence … it’s OK … mermaids like to repeat themselves.) Cheers! The Midwest Mermaid Oh, and if your curious, yes, I do actually write for a living … if you want to know about the organizations I work with and the publications where you can find my land legs, swim on over to the “Portfolio” tab … and thanks for visiting.

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