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Jan. 12, 2022

Cook Your Catch: Blackened Panfish With Blaine Garrett

Panfish grilled and seasoned to perfection served with a refreshing broccoli salad.

Cook Your Catch: Blackened Panfish With Blaine Garrett

Cooking fish on the grill is one of life’s simple pleasures. A favorite among anglers is blackened panfish.

Panfish is a term that refers to fish that can, well, fit neatly inside a pan. And while not limited to any one species, some panfish favorites are bluegills, crappie and perch.

For this Mercury Cook Your Catch video, veteran outdoorsman Blaine Garrett shows how to make one of his favorite recipes – blackened panfish cooked on the grill and served with a homemade cold broccoli salad. It’s a wonderful combination of spicy and cool, savory and sweet, that is both affordable and easy to prepare.

So, if you’re looking for a dish that will get your tastebuds singing, you’re going to love this recipe.

Start to finish: 40 minutes

Servings: 4

  • 2 to 3 pounds panfish fillets
  • 5 to 7 cups broccoli florets, chopped
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons red onion, chopped
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons bacon, chopped
  • Cranberries, to taste
  • ½ cup coleslaw dressing (you can substitute a fat-free dressing if you prefer)
  • ½ to 1 stick butter

Get started preparing the salad by cooking three to four strips of bacon. You can fry the bacon in a pan or bake it in the oven - whichever method you prefer. Just be sure to cook the bacon until it’s nice and crispy. This way it will add a crunchy texture to your salad.

While your bacon is cooking, heat up your grill to medium-high.

Next, you’ll want to get started on your salad. Begin by adding the broccoli tips (or florets) into a bowl, along with the chopped onion.

Then, add your bacon, sprinkle some dried cranberries on top and mix in a cup of your favorite coleslaw dressing. Stir everything up nicely, cover and place in the refrigerator to chill, allowing all those flavors to meld together.

Now that your salad is taken care of, it’s time to heat up your butter. Put a half to one stick of butter in a cast iron skillet and place inside your grill. You can let the butter melt with the grill opened or closed, whichever you prefer.

While your butter is melting, place your fish on top of a couple layers of paper towels to remove the excess moisture. You can either pat the top of the fish with more paper towels or gently roll up the ones you’ve already used – fish and all.

Then, remove the cast iron and melted butter from the grill and pour the butter into a clean bowl. Replace the skillet with a cast iron grill pan large enough to hold all your fish in a single layer. Your grill needs to be heated up to 400 degrees to cook the fish properly, so adjust as needed.

Next, dip each piece of fish into the butter, covering the fish on both sides. Place your buttered fish onto a plate and sprinkle some blackened seasoning on top. The amount of seasoning is entirely up to you. If you like things a bit fiery, get generous with your seasoning. Just be mindful of the heat tolerance of others who might be dining with you and adjust accordingly.  

Now it’s time to place your fish, seasoned side up, onto your hot cast iron pan. After cooking for approximately two to three minutes, it’s time to flip your fish and season the other side, cooking for another two to three minutes.

Next, remove your pan of fish from the grill, turn off the heat, and place the blackened fillets on a plate with a layer or two of clean paper towels to soak up any excess butter.

You’re now ready to plate your fish alongside some of your chilled broccoli supreme salad. Once you do that, the only thing left is to dig in and enjoy the cool with the hot, and the sweet with the spicy. It’s a simple, affordable dish destined to become a favorite. And with a number of different panfish options to choose from, it’s easy to keep this dish feeling distinctly different every time you prepare it. Enjoy!

Cook Your Catch: Blackened Panfish With Blaine Garrett
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