Recipe for Ice Fishermen: Fried Crappie Cakes

Turn fish fillets into delicious crab-cake style patties

I filmed this crappie recipe last week on a frozen lake in western Wisconsin. It was about -3 degrees. As I write this, the sun is shining, a spring breeze is blowing, and it’s 40 degrees across the upper Midwest. The point is: if you still have good ice, now is the perfect time to get out and catch a load of crappies.

While you’re out there, try this recipe. It’s simple enough to whip up, right next to the fish house, and it’s a great change of pace from typical fried crappie. Think crab cakes, but for ice fishermen.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of crappie fillets (makes about 6 big cakes)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 to 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1-1/2 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
  • 1/4 lemon (juice)
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1-1/2 cups breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp. canola oil
ice fishing crappies
A good haul of evening crappies.Alex Robinson

Directions

After you’ve filleted the crappies, boil the fillets in a cast-iron skillet. Boil the fish for a few minutes, until the fillets feel firm. Then, let the fish cool (we did this by simply letting the bitter winter wind get to them).

While the fillets are cooling, make your batter. In a large bowl, whisk the egg, mayo, mustard, Old Bay, lemon, salt, and Worcestershire sauce. Then, break up the crappie fillets into large chunks. You can use a knife, or just barehand it. Add the fish, breadcrumbs, and parsley to the mixture and mix it up thoroughly.

When the mixture is starting to stick together, then form it into cakes. You want to make them between 1/4-inch and 1/2-inch thick.

Once that's done, all you have to do is fry the cakes in the butter and canola oil. Flip when the first side is brown and pull them from the oil when both sides are nicely browned. Serve ’em hot to your hungry fishing buddies.

Stay tuned for more recipes from the ice.