Creole Crappie Nuggets
by Vernon Summerlin
Creole Crappie Nuggets & Tartar-Dill Dipping Sauce
- 2 pounds crappie fillets cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup ground cornmeal
- 2 tablespoons Cajun Creole seasoning
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 2 cups canola oil
In heavy saucepan, heat oil to 375°F. Stir flour, cornmeal, Creole seasoning, onion powder, garlic powder and red pepper together in shallow dish. In another shallow dish, beat an egg with fork until foamy. Sprinkle fish nuggets with salt and lemon juice. Dip each nugget into beaten egg, then roll in flour mixture to coat. Drop nuggets into hot oil, cook 2 minutes; turn and cook 1 minute longer or until deep golden brown. Remove from oil, drain and serve with tartar-dill dipping sauce.
Tartar-Dill Dipping Sauce
- 1 cup Mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon dill, chopped
- 1 cup finely chopped dill pickles
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
Mix all ingredients and chill until crappie nuggets are ready to serve.
Dill (Anethum graveolens) is an herb used throughout European and Asian cuisines – and grows profusely in my Tennessee garden by self-seeding. While the feathery leaves have a sweet, grassy flavor, dill seeds are more aromatic with a slight citrus flavor similar to caraway seeds. As an herb and spice, dill is usually used to enhance the flavor of various dishes, very commonly in soups/stews or for pickling.
When it comes time for you to plant a garden next spring, look into companion planting. This is planting certain plants close together for mutual benefits or far apart to eliminate attracting certain pests. Dill’s companions are tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, cabbages and other brassicas. Dill works as a “trap crop” for tomato hornworms and aphids. A trap crop is a plant that attracts agricultural pests, usually insects, away from nearby crops. This form of companion planting can save your main crop from destruction by pests without the use of pesticides. (After harvesting dill from my garden, hornworms attacked my tomatoes. Next year dill will be planted between my tomato plants along with onions, another tomato companion.) Dill also grows well with chives, lemon balm, lemon thyme and lovage. Use dill seeds for pickling and also to add aroma and taste to strong vegetable dishes like cauliflower, onions, cabbage and turnips. Dill seeds can be added to fish, casseroles, lamb and sauces. Add fresh dill to green beans, potato dishes, cheese, soups, casseroles, meat dishes, pasta and eggs. Visit www.Almanac.Com/companion-planting-chart-vegetables.
Dill Butter (per stick)
- 1 butter stick, softened to room temp
- 1/2 cup fresh dill leaves chopped finely
Mix well and shape into a log. Roll log in freezer paper to store in quart-size freezer bag. Once frozen, unwrap to cut off sections as needed to saute’ crappies.
- 8-10 ounces crappie fillets, chopped
- 3 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 cup green onions, diced
- 1 cup fresh mushrooms, diced
- 1 cup fresh asparagus, diced
- 1 cup green bell pepper, diced
- 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 tablespoons teriyaki sauce
- Cooked rice
Heat a wok or a skillet and add canola oil. When hot add all of the ingredients except the cooked rice. Fish is done when it flakes easily. Spoon over rice following package’s cooking instructions.
Jazzed-Up Fried Crappie
- 1 pound crappie fillets
- 1 cup beer
- 3 cups flour
- 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1-1/2 teaspoons oregano
- 1-1/2 tablespoons garlic powder
- 1-1/2 tablespoons onion powder
1/2 teaspoons basil
- 1-1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper or to taste
- 1-1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- Orange juice
Place the above ingredients in a bowl and mix. Whisk in enough orange juice to make a batter. In a large heavy skillet or deep-fat fryer, heat 2-3 inches of canola oil to 375 degrees. Dip the fillets in the beer and then coat completely with the batter. Fry until golden brown and drain well. Serve with lemon wedges, tartar sauce and hot sauce.
Crappie Scampi: Ad Libitum
- Crappie fillets
- Fresh garlic
- Butter, melted
- Bread crumbs
Preheat broiler. Place foil over a cookie sheet and spray with oil. Sprinkle garlic, butter and bread crumbs over the fillets. Place under the preheated broiler and cook until fish flakes with a fork.