Bluegills and similar pan fish are an excellent choice when cooking for a crowd. A normal portion is one bluegill per diner, so the math is easy to work with, and they are a convenient size for easy home cooking. The flesh is delicate and tasty, and is especially suited to frying or deep-frying. These little fish are fun to catch and prolific enough that the limit in many states runs into the dozens. That's more than enough to feed an average gathering of friends and family with crisp, deep-fried bluegills.
Things You'll Need
- Deep fryer, or steep-sided pot and deep frying thermometer
- Salt and pepper
- Brown paper
Skin, scale or fillet the bluegills, as desired. Boneless fillets are easiest to eat, but some prefer to eat the fish whole.
Prepare a suitable batter. One popular recipe consists of equal portions flour and beer by volume. Mix the two ingredients until just blended and allowed it to rest in the refrigerator for one hour before using.
Heat a high quality vegetable oil to 375 degrees F in a deep fryer, or in a steep-sized pot with a thermometer clipped to the side.
Season the bluegills lightly with salt and pepper. If you are frying whole fish, season inside the belly cavity as well.
Dredge the fish lightly in flour and shake off any excess. Dip the bluegills into the batter, holding them by the tail. Gently lower one or two pieces at a time into the water, holding each one in place until the batter begins to puff and float before letting go.
Deep-fry whole bluegills for five to seven minutes, or four or five minutes for fillets. The batter should be crisp and golden brown. Drain on brown paper and serve immediately, or keep warm until the rest of the fish is fried.
Tips & Warnings
- Bluegills may be breaded rather than battered, for a different texture and crunch. Breadcrumbs or cornmeal will both work very well.
- When searching for bluegill recipes, remember to try alternatives such as bream, sunfish or crappie.
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images