We all can remember the tug on the line was a little different the first time a smallie pulled on the other end. For me, I had grown up catching perch and man as I watched grandma fillet them up for dinner I knew my belly was going to have one heck of an evening. But we always released the smallmouth… but why? Can’t they be just as tasty? Well here are my two favorite recipes for smallmouth bass that you should try. Let me know your feedback if you liked one over the other.
Grandma’s Fish & Chips
First off, this is not the healthiest option out there but it is unrealistically delicious. You’re going to need to get those fish fillets ready and if you don’t have a technique for that just write me and I can give you mine. Now I like to take the fillets and soak them in buttermilk overnight with some fresh ground pepper and some paprika.
The next day I pat them dry and dredge them through an egg wash then dip them in panko. Regular breadcrumbs will work and I have even tried cornflakes before when we were out camping and didn’t bring even flour but had some cereal and it turned out pretty good. Just put them in a zipper bag and smash them. Back to where I was…If you don’t have any of that a nice dredge though some flour or cornmeal will work wonders too. Just experiment and let me know your thoughts.
Now, you’re going to need to get a pan with some oil in it ready. I use cast iron because I like the flavor but my grandma used one of those ceramic coated dutch ovens on her stove. Use a high temp oil like vegetable, Olive oil can start to burn if you get it too hot. Aim for between 350-375 and you will be just right. You will want enough in the pan to submerge more than half the fillet.
Now just drop her in there and watch it. Your only going to need 2-3 minutes before it gets golden brown on the edges and it’s time to turn it over. Just give it a flip! Now just another 2 minutes and it should be ready to rest on a plate that is covered in some paper towels to drain off the excess oil.
I like mine with some tartar sauce (I put a blog about that one later) but you may just want a squeeze of lemon and a little hot sauce. You have no idea what you’re in for.
If your looking for something lighter here is another take.
Just get a pan on medium heat with some EVOO in it to coat the bottom. Give the fillet a little dredge of flour and set it in there. Again, 3-5 minutes depending on your stove and pan then give it a flip.
Add any spices you want. I stick with smoked paprika, salt, and pepper. When your done frying them all up just right, set them on a plate for a moment and take the heat down by half. Throw in a half stick of butter and some S&P. let it meltdown then you squeeze in a half of a lemon and let that heat up just shy of browning.
Serve that fish on a plate with a drizzle of lemon butter and you’re going to wish you had never thrown one back.
Let me know if you have any other recipes that work well for you.