Blueberried Crappies and a Happy-fried New Year

Blueberried Crappies and Happy-fried New Year

This first month of the year we’re taking a little breakfast with our crappie entrée by using a pancake mix. This mouthwatering recipe will lure everyone to the table. Instead of using ordinary pancake mix, we’re going to “fruit it up” a little by using a blueberry mix.

Commercially-sold blueberries, genus Vaccinium, are usually from species that grow naturally only in eastern and northcentral North America. This genus is also native to the Pacific Northwest and the South in the United States.

Blueberries range in height from less than 1 foot tall to over 12 feet. The short or “low-bush” berries are generally called “wild.” Some of these short-bush berries grow on the hills behind my house, but I grow the high-bush in my orchard—this saves me from stooping over and is easier on my old back. And, I don’t have to climb hills for these tasty berries.

First, we have a simple recipe using blueberry pancake mix. Next, we’ll zest it up with a lemon-blueberry sauce.

Fried Blueberry Pancake-Battered Crappies

2 1/2 pounds crappie fillets, cut into 2-inch pieces

1 1/2 cups blueberry pancake mix

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

3/4 cup beer (alcohol or non-alcoholic)

1 egg

Canola oil

In a large bowl, combine pancake mix, sugar, salt, cayenne pepper, beer, and egg. Mix well. Heat 1 inch of oil in a large deep skillet over medium heat until hot, but not smoking. Dip fish pieces into batter, coating completely. Fry in oil 3 to 5 minutes per side, or until coating is golden and fish flakes easily with a fork. Drain on a paper towel-lined platter.

Now to add lip-smacking flavors to your fish: a lemon-blueberry sauce.


Lemon-Blueberry Sauce

Juice of 1 lemon (about 3 tablespoons)

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 1/2 cups frozen wild blueberries

3 tablespoons agave

Zest of half a lemon

1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

Dash of salt to taste

Thyme leaves freshly chopped (a few, optional)

Place the lemon juice and cornstarch in a small bowl and whisk with a fork until combined. Place the wild blueberries, cornstarch mixture, agave, lemon zest, ginger, salt, and thyme (if desired), in a small saucepan. Stir well to combine. Place the blueberry mixture over medium high heat and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, stirring frequently until thickened and heated through, for about 5 minutes. Pour over fish and serve.

While you have your pancake mix out, try this recipe for crappie sandwiches.


Crappie Sandwiches

6 crappie fillets

2 cups pancake flour

1 cup cornflake crumbs

1/4 cup yellow cornmeal

1 tablespoon garlic salt

2 beaten eggs

Canola oil

Sandwich buns

Cheese Whiz (optional)

Onion, sliced (optional)

Place flour, crumbs, cornmeal and garlic salt in a large Zip-lock bag. Shake to ensure all of the ingredients are mixed well. Dip crappie filets in the beaten eggs and place the filets in the batter mixture. Give the bag a few shakes to coat filets. Deep-fry in hot vegetable oil. Serve the golden brown filets on sandwich buns. Add Cheese Whiz and a slice of onion to the sandwich (optional) if desired.

In most homes there are turkey leftovers from Christmas. Here’s a way to “dispose” of them.


Baked Turkey Casserole

2 cups chopped cooked turkey

1/2 cup chopped almonds

2 cups chopped celery

1/3 cup chopped green bell pepper

2 tablespoons chopped pimentos

1 cup shredded Swiss or cheddar cheese

1/2 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 cup crushed potato chips

Combine turkey, almonds, celery, bell pepper, pimentos, cheese, mayonnaise, lemon juice and seasonings. Pour mixture into greased 2-quart casserole baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.