How to cook a Bluegill
This recipe was published on page 279 of the
I used to live in southern Ohio and while there I enjoyed catching Bluegill on very light fly fishing tackle. We used to do bank fishing while camping in reclaimed coal strip mines. The Bluegill is fun to catch, because it will strike at anything, but the question of what to do with the catch led to the development of this recipe. Most fishermen regard the Bluegill as too small to bother cooking, but it is really quite easy to cook and very delicious. It is an extremely simple, delicious meal which became an important part of the ritual of our weekend fishing trips.
How to cook a Bluegill
James Speed Hensinger
3-4 very fresh 6" Bluegills (per person) (uncleaned)
1/2 bottle of beer. (use a light flavor, not a heavy bock or dark beer)
1 9.5 oz box of cracker meal (see note at bottom)
butter or margarine
1 3 oz jar of capers
1/2 lemon per person
3-4 cherry tomatoes per person
1 green onion per person
Start by filleting the fish. Use a very sharp flexible knife and begin cutting behind the gill structure. Keep the knife under the meat and on top of the ribs while sliding it towards the tail. Do not separate the fillet from the tail. Instead flip the fillet past the tail and continue cutting away from the head, but holding the knife under the meat and separating the skin. Two easy cuts per fillet. No gutting. No scaling. All of the offal in one easily disposed of piece.
In a bowl, make an egg wash using the whole egg and 1/2 bottle of beer. Dispose of the remaining beer 8-}. Whip with a fork until thoroughly blended.
Empty the box of cracker meal onto a plate, a sheet of foil, wax paper, or a torn open paper bag.
Grease a skillet with a 50-50 mixture of butter (or margarine) and oil. This is not deep frying, use just a little more than is required to coat the bottom.
Dip each filet in the egg wash and dredge in cracker meal and drop into the hot greased skillet. Brown lightly on both sides and serve.
Garnish with a few capers (drained and chopped), green onions (chopped), and cherry tomatoes (quartered)
Serve with lemon juice, salt, and pepper
NOTE about Cracker Meal
Packaged, crushed crackers used for topping casseroles and baked vegetables, or for breading meats or fish. You can make your own by putting saltine crackers in a heavy plastic bag and rolling them with a rolling pin OR place crackers in a food processor and process until crumbly. Panko will also work, but you may need to add salt at service.