Oct 2020 Recipes

Recipes: Crappie Patties, by Vernon Summerlin

Crappie Patties & Frying Oils

Great recipe and bonus info about frying oils


  • 3 cups cooked crappie fillets, chopped
  • 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup celery, finely chopped
  • 1 cup potatoes, shredded (or mashed potatoes)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder (more or less to taste)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Cracker crumbs to coat patties
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons
  • Canola oil

Mix fillets, onion, celery and potatoes together and then add salt, pepper, red chili powder and egg together. Form patties for frying. Heat butter and canola oil in a skillet on medium-high (365 degrees). Roll patties in the crushed cracker crumbs (say that 5 times fast ;>).  Fry patties until golden brown on each side.

Pattie Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 4 teaspoons flour
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried dill (optional)

Heat the garlic and butter in a saucepan on medium and whisk in the flour until it forms a smooth paste. Gradually stir in the milk and bring to a boil. Cook for two minutes while whisking the sauce. Remove from the heat, add lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Serve with the crappie patties.

 If you would like to jazz up your patties with a more zest sprinkle this creole seasoning liberally over them.

Creole Seasoning

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • Combine all ingredients. Makes 2/3 cup


Frying Oils

 With the kind permission of our editor, Captain Richard Simms, I’m given leave to add a tangent or two to my recipes to include related cooking matters. This month I’ve research frying oils. What spurred me in this direction was a blurb in Consumer Reports On Health magazine stating, “Boost your ability to fight infections”. A topic that’s foremost on our minds – and fears – since last spring when the covid virus sprang upon us. Now it’s killing more citizens than populate many cities.

 The On Health blurb: Just a tablespoon or two of a healthy fat, such as olive or other vegetable oil, helps fuel your immune system and enhances your ability to absorb infection-fighting antioxidants from vegetables. As part of a healthy diet, it’s one of the foods that can help protect you against disease-causing bacteria and viruses.

 Chef Hank Shaw, a James Beard Award-winning food writer, considered various oils and suggests the best ones for frying fish. First a warning as he says, “Don’t use flavored oils for cooking. In the best-case scenario, the oil’s flavor will disappear while cooking, however, there’s a very good chance that it will actually turn acrid and ruin the dish. Save these oils for a light drizzle once the fish is off the heat and ready to be served. Consider that less-refined oils also have a lower smoke-point; never use unrefined oils for sautéing or other high heat preparations over 350 F. Some oils like canola, corn, safflower, sunflower and peanut can be either refined or unrefined, so read the labels.”

 The difference between pan-frying and deep-frying is the depth of oil you cook your fish in. Pan-frying means cooking in enough oil so that half of the fish is covered. Deep-frying is submerging the entire fish. Your best choices for pan-frying and deep-frying fish are oils with higher smoking points. When an oil reaches its smoking point, it turns acrid. Neutral oils, such as canola and vegetable are ideal for dishes where you don’t want the oil to pass on much flavor to the fish. Avocado oil has the highest the smoke-point but it’ll cost you dearly. Peanut oil’s smoke-point is 446 degrees F., one of the highest smoke-points. The ideal temperature for frying fish is around 350–375°F.

 Hank Shaw and I agree canola oil is the top choice for its neutral flavor. It’s also inexpensive and ideal for high-volume use and re-use with a smoke-point of 400 degrees F.

 Here’s my little secret. My first choice for frying fish is in lard. No longer popular for health reasons, it’s just a wistful hangover from my Southern roots.

 Canola belongs to the heart-healthy Brassica plant genus (family), so do mustard, broccoli, Brussel sprouts and cauliflower. It’s a safe and healthy form of fat that can reduce blood LDL cholesterol levels and is heart-disease risk-free compared to carbohydrates or saturated fats such as found in beef tallow and butter. It all comes down to nutrition. Although canola oil and vegetable oil are both plant-based oils, canola comes from the rapeseed plant and vegetable oil is typically soybean-based or made from a blend of vegetable oils, so they differ in their fat composition. Canola contains the least saturated fat of all cooking oils, it’s trans-fat free, cholesterol free and high in omega 3 (a heart-healthy fatty acid). It’s the third most consumed consumed oil in the world.

 Another fact about canola, in the spring their flowering fields are beauteous deep carpets of yellow.

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