How to Cook your Catch – Fish Fry
Updated: Dec 9, 2020
One of my first memories of “wild” food was back in my youngster days fishing with my grandpa at the family cabin. We would spend the morning fishing with live minnows for crappies while we dangled our feet into the water from atop an old marine carpeted 55-gallon drum raft. Below the raft was an anchor on a chain and my grandpa also typically sank his Christmas tree from the year before to attract fish. We would catch the crappies and toss them in a 5-gallon bucket filled with water until my grandpa would say “Ok we have enough to eat”. Then we would finish fishing by tossing the rest of what we caught back in the lake to grow and make more fish.
We would row back to the dock and my grandpa would carry the bucket of fish up to the picnic table and set it down on the ground next to the end of the bench. He grabbed old newspapers and lined the tabletop. Next, he unsheathed his leather holstered Rapala filet knife and proceeded to show off the flex or bend of the blade, which was perfect for getting all the meat off of smaller fish. We sat down and he would fillet one and have me try on the next one. Inevitably he would help and after a few tries, I would just watch him do it. As he cleaned each fish we would toss the fillets into a mixing bowl filled with cold water and then leave the fish carcass in a pile on the newspaper. Once all the fish were cleaned, the fish meat was brought to the kitchen and rinsed again before my grandma made the tasty magic happen. My grandpa would wrap the fish carcasses up in the newspaper and bury them in his planter gardens surrounding the cabin. Newspapers and fish make excellent natural plant food as long as other critters leave them alone.
The fish fry is a simple and timeless process that can be applied to almost anything. The best part about the process is that it is darn right delicious. The basic process can be modified all sorts of ways but below you will find the skeleton to get you started.
Fish fry batter
Eggs (or milk)
Place fish fry seasoning mix into a bowl big enough to fit your fish fillets
Crack and beat 4 eggs (or more as needed during the frying process) into another same size bowl
Place both bowls next to the burner where you will place your skillet pan
Select a skillet pan deep enough to accommodate a couple of inches of oil plus the fillets. For best results, you may want to use a dutch oven type dish or frying pan with 4” high walls. If you only have smaller frying pans you will have to flip the fillets to cook both sides.
Place the oil in your pan and heat on low-medium until the oil is hot.
Begin to fry the fish by dipping each filet, first into the egg wash, second into the seasoning mix, and then third into the pan.
Fry until outside is golden brown and then remove with tongs and place on a series of paper towels to cool. Repeat the process as needed adding more mix or eggs to match the amount of fish you have to fry.
Any fish fry box mix will work, but I prefer to use Andy’s Red
Some people also substitute Milk instead of using an egg wash prior to applying the seasoning mix. The recipe is easy, but it is a fan favorite and delicious way to eat your catch all year round.