Tasty crappie recipes

Now, I don't eat bass. I release all I catch. But I do fish for my supper (and lunch and breakfast, too), now and then. No matter how "modern" we become, how can we ever forget/neglect that the fruit of fishing is not just the fun? Table fare is a big part of it, and it has been ever since man first cast out to catch finned critters.

Because I live in the mid-South, most often when I catch fish for the table, they're crappie. These fish are a true delicacy. Fall is a good time to catch 'em, too. And with that in mind, here are a couple of quick recipes for these great tasting fish. I hope you bring home a cooler full!

Crappie Fish Salad

- 2 to 4 8-ounce fillets
- dash McCormick buttered salt
- dash pepper
- 3 teaspoon mayonnaise
- 3 teaspoon diced celery
- 3 teaspoon dill pickle, diced
- 3 teaspoon onion, optional

Cook fillets in a microwave for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes at a high setting. Determine if the fish is cooked by sticking a fork into it. The fillets should flake. Sprinkle fillets with McCormick buttered salt and pepper.

Once cooked, place the fillets in a 2-quart mixing bowl and add mayonnaise, diced celery, dill pickles, onions and mix it all together.

This is a really quick and convenient recipe. You can serve it on a bed of lettuce for a dinner salad, as an appetizer or use it for sandwiches. And heck, I ain't going to lie to you ... it's pretty darn good on a Ritz cracker, too!

There is not a better standby than good old fried crappie. Most people do it the same way, with slight variations here and there. Here are my favorite ingredients.

Fried Crappie

- crappie fillets (I really think keeping the skin on fillets helps to retain some natural flavors)
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- a mix of 80 percent self-rising cornmeal/20 percent all-purpose flour
- vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup of butter
- Jane's Crazy Mixed-Up Salt
- 1/2 teaspoon McCormick's Lemon and Herb Seasoning !

Dip fillets in Jane's Crazy salt. Then batter fillets in meal/flour/pepper mix. Drop in vegetable oil that has been heated to 375 degrees. Drop fillets in hot oil and cook until fillets float (approximately 2-3 minutes). Do not put too many fillets into the oil at one time. Allow them to dry on paper towels when removed from the oil.

Making a mixture of melted butter and lime juice is also a nice touch to have to sprinkle lightly on fried fillets, as is some McCormick's Lemon and Herb Seasoning.

And one final option might be to first marinate the fillets in some Louisiana Hot Sauce before beginning the above process. That really spices things up a notch or two!

That's all for now! I have made myself hungry and need to check the freezer for crappie fillets.

Until next time, catch one for me!

For more words of wit and wisdom from one of our sport's greatest legends, check out www.billdanceoutdoors.com.