Around here, late May and early June mean bluegill fishing. When the big gills move up shallow to bed on local lakes and farm ponds, we try to be there to catch them. While cleaning our catch, we often find a female loaded with eggs.
For years, we’d toss those eggs out with the rest of the scraps left at the cleaning station. Then someone told me about breading and frying the roe. We tried it once and we haven’t tossed an egg sack since. If you’d like to try this recipe, just be gentle when you clean your fish. Gently open the stomach and pull the egg sack out in one piece. Try not to split it open, but it isn’t the end of the world if they tear a bit.
Obviously, the larger the eggs the more you get for your trouble, but any size egg sack works for the recipe. Roe from any panfish works, bluegill, crappie, perch, walleye, all good. While catfish eggs are edible, they can taste a bit fishy.
Egg sacks from any female fish you clean
½ cup flour
½ cup corn meal
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
Mix breading ingredients well. Gently rinse the egg sacks under cold water. Toss the egg sacks in the breading mixture, using your fingers to flip breading up onto the eggs as gently as possible.
Heat oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. (we use our fish-frying oil once all the fish are finished cooking)
Gently lower the dredged eggs into the hot oil. Fry on one side for 2 to 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, carefully flip the eggs. Fry on opposite side for another 2 to 3 minutes. Again using the slotted spoon, gently lift the cooked eggs from the hot oil, allowing excess oil to drain back into the pan. Lay the eggs on a paper-lined platter to drain.
Important tip: Keep a lid handy. Fish eggs often pop as they cook. Many long-time egg cookers swear by gently poking the egg sacks with a tooth pick as they cook to release trapped moisture and cut down on splattering.
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