Doug Barnes’ Picante-Fried Bluegill Fillets

Doug Barnes of Germantown, TN is the art director for Ducks Unlimited Magazine.  Doug is an avid all-round sportsman, and in the warm months he loves to flyfish for big bluegill.  He says he has no trouble catching all the "bream" he wants by twitching a popping bug on the surface.

Several years back, one of Doug's friends shared with him a recipe for picante-fried bluegill fillets, and Doug's been using it ever since.  He says this cooking method provides a little different "twang" to the fish, but it's nothing spicy or offensive.

Doug fillets his bluegill, taking a strip of boneless meat off each side.  Then he pats the fillets dry with paper towels.  He says it's important to remove all moisture from the flesh.

Next, he rolls the fillets in medium-heat picante sauce.  Then, he coats the fillets in flour seasoned with salt and pepper. 

Last, Doug deep-fries the flour-coated fillets in hot peanut oil.  He says the fillets are pink when they come out of the oil.

"You can tell the fillets are tinted with the picante sauce, but they're not hot.  They just have a great flavor," Doug concludes.  "We've never tried this recipe on anybody who didn't just rave over it."

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