Some connoisseurs prefer their fish pan-dressed with skin, tail and bones intact to facilitate the most thorough enjoyment of these scrumptious wild treats. They don't want to miss a single morsel, and pan-dressing eliminates the loss of the small meat pieces sometimes left behind in the filleting process.
When you pan-dress the fish, you'll have to separate the scrumptious meat from the bones, but the skin and bones add extra flavor, and if you deep-fry your catch, you can enjoy the crunchy fried tail and fins as well.
Here's how to pan-dress a crappie:
Begin by placing the fish on a cutting board, fillet board or other hard, flat surface and scraping away all its scales with a regular table spoon or scaling tool. Scale from the tail toward the head, being certain you remove all the scales on both sides of the fish.
Using a sharp, heavy knife, remove the fish's head. Angle the cut from just behind the top portion of the gill cover to the rear edge of the pectoral and pelvic fins, removing these fins along with the head.
Remove the entrails, rinse thoroughly with clean water inside and out, and you're finished. Leave the remaining fins, the tail and skin on. These are delicious and enhance the already wonderful flavor of the fish
When you've completed your task, all that's left to do is cook your catch. Many recipes are available, but most folks agree it's hard to beat crappie that's been dredged in seasoned corn meal and deep-fried. Bon Appetit!
About the Author
With a resume listing more than 3,800 magazine, newspaper and website articles about fishing, hunting, wildlife and conservation, Keith "Catfish" Sutton of Alexander, Ark., has established a reputation as one of the country's best-known outdoor writers. In 2012, he was enshrined in the National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame as a Legendary Communicator. The 13 books he's written are available through his website.