Pat's Southern-Fried Panfish

""Panfish" are non-saltwater fish like bass, bluegill, and/or crappies. If you like VERY MILD FISH which is crunchy on the outside and flakey-white and moist on the inside, then this recipe is for you. It's not at all greasy, as long as you don't go short on the Crisco and as long as you get your Crisco hot enough. And the idea of dusting the fillets with flour prior to the "drench" and "dredge" prevents the coating from falling off while frying. I primarily use this particular recipe for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and, Kentucky spotted bass; however, it's also perfect for nice-sized white bass or, even for bluegill (bream) or crappie fillets if you shorten the cooking time to account for the smaller fillets. The time listed does not account for marinating time."
photo by Bone Man photo by Bone Man
photo by Bone Man
photo by Bone Man photo by Bone Man
photo by Bone Man photo by Bone Man
Ready In:




  • Allow the fillets to marinade in salt water (use all the quart of water except for 4 tablespoons), using the table salt, for 3 hours in the refrigerator.
  • After marination, pat the fillets very dry with paper towels. Pour one cup of the flour into a small paper bag and drop in the fillets, one at a time, and coat them lightly, shaking off any excess flour. Reserve this flour for later use. Lay the fillets out on a piece of wax paper and allow them to sit for 20 minutes.
  • In a large skillet, heat the shortening until a few small drops of water crackle loudy in it.
  • Using a fork or whisk, beat the eggs and the 4 tablespoons of water together in a medium-sized bowl for at least 20 seconds and set aside. This will be your "drench".
  • Mix together the flour from the bag, all remaining flour (1 cup), the kosher salt, the corn meal and the white pepper on a platter. This will be your "dredge".
  • Prepare one fillet at a time for frying by first dipping it in the egg "drench". Allow most of this to drip off and then dredge it in the flour mix on both sides. Shake very lightly to remove any notable hunks of flour and corn meal.
  • Carefully lay each fillet into the very hot shortening. If it does not begin to fry immediately, your shortening is not hot enough! Do not crowd the fillets in the skillet -- do as many batches as necessary to accommodate this.
  • Allow each fillet to fry until lightly browned on the first side and then carefully turn it to the other side. When each fillet is lightly browned on both sides (about 7-10 minutes total), the fish is done. It should be very white and flakey in the thickest part of the fillet.
  • Serve with ketchup and/or tartar sauce as an entree, or, on sandwiches.

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<p>I am a retired State Park Resort Manager/Ranger. <br /><br />Anyway, as to my years in the State Park System (retired now), I was responsible for 4 restaurants/dining rooms on my park and my boss at Central Headquarters said I should spend less time in my kitchens and more time tending to my park budget. I spent 25 years in those kitchens and worked with some really great chefs over those years, (and some really awful ones too!) <br /><br />I spent THOUSANDS of hours on every inch of that park and adjacent state forest (60,000 acres) and sometimes I miss it. But mostly I miss being in that big beautiful resort lodge kitchen. I miss my little marina restaurant down on the Ohio River too. I served the best Reuben Sandwich (my own recipe -- posted on 'Zaar as The Shawnee Marina Reuben Sandwich) in both the State of Ohio and the Commonwealth of Kentucky down there and sold it for $2.95. Best deal on the river! <br /><br />They (friends and neighbors) call my kitchen The Ospidillo Cafe. Don't ask me why because it takes about a case of beer, time-wise, to explain the name. Anyway, it's a small galley kitchen with a Mexican motif (until my wife catches me gone for a week or so), and it's a very BUSY kitchen as well. We cook at all hours of the day and night. You are as likely to see one of my neighbors munching down over here as you are my wife or daughter. I do a lot of recipe experimentation and development. It has become a really fun post-retirement hobby -- and, yes, I wash my own dishes. <br /><br />Also, I'm the Cincinnati Chili Emperor around here, or so they say. (Check out my Ospidillo Cafe Cincinnati Chili recipe). SKYLINE CHILI is one of my four favorite chilis, and the others include: Gold Star Chili, Empress Chili and, my VERY favorite, Dixie. All in and around Cincinnati. Great stuff for cheap and I make it at home too. <br /><br />I also collect menus and keep them in my kitchen -- I have about a hundred or so. People go through them and when they see something that they want, I make it the next day. That presents some real challenges! <br /><br /></p>
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