You’ve Caught Crappie, Now How Do You Cook ‘Em?
If you've been lucky enough to strike it rich in the crappie fields of heated docks all over the state this past winter, consider yourself extremely lucky. I've hit a handful of them over the last season and the bite was very hit or miss with inconsistent weather and warm winter weekend days. That all changes now as the waters warm and they start to ball up in preparation for their annual spawn, it makes them easy pickings IF you can find them.
Luckily for me, my father adds a daily trip to the fishing dock during the wintertime. While he doesn't always keep what he catches, some days he fills up other guys buckets, I'm pretty sure one of the deep freezes in the garage is chocked full of buttery crappie fillets. So question remains now, how do you go about preparing it?
I'm pretty sure the traditional preparation for any fish in Oklahoma is exactly the same. You buy yourself a fish fry kit, toss the fillets and spices in a bag, shake it, and lay your spiced cornmeal covered meats in hot oil to deep fry to a sweet perfection. There's nothing wrong with that at all, but it has to get old right? I'm telling you, there's better ways to have that delicious crappie.
If you've ever spent time on any coast, surely you know how good grilled fish is... A little spice rub, a dash of citrus and a little heat, you're in buttery flaky heaven. I'd even go as far as to say grilled crappie is better than the fried variant, but even it gets better. The next question most people have is "How do you eat grilled fish?" Well, you can take a fork and just eat is as it is, or you can take it to eleven and wrap that goodness up in a tortilla because, lets admit it, every food tastes better as a taco. You can still use the same spice pallet for the grilled fish, but believe me when I say you'll want to double or triple up the cayenne pepper on these bad boys. Sweet, spicy, heat... Goes really good with your beverage of choice and pretty much any side you choose.
If you want to stir-fry it in the house, there's a method for that too and it looks amazing. That recipe can be found on the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife website here.
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