For the Love of Panfish

Monahan's Seafood Market | Fresh Whole Fish, Fillets, Shellfish, Recipes, Catering & Lunch Counter-Ann Arbor, Michigan
Mike & his kids with a string of panfish

Mike & his kids with a string of panfish

What is a panfish? If you’re a Michigander you’d be talking about fish like bluegill, sunfish, pumpkin seed, crappie, perch, white bass, trout. I think that any fresh or saltwater fish that is small enough to fry in a pan is a panfish. Sardines, croakers, porgy, smelt, butterfish, small snappers, fresh anchovies, bronzini, black bass—so many delicious little fish that are just right for a quick fry. Whole small fish or fillets sizzling in the pan searing in the moisture and flavor with a sweet, crispy crust.

Summertime is panfish time! Time to catch a mess of bluegill or perch, dip em, dredge em, fry em up, nothing’s better. Vacation time on Martha’s Vineyard with a fresh catch (or trip to the fish market) of small flounder, porgy or snapper bluefish in the pan—instant memories.

But isn’t frying unhealthy and messy? Won’t the house smell for weeks? If you use a mono-unsaturated fat like olive oil or mix of polyunsaturated and mono-unsaturated like peanut oil or vegetable-canola blens, you’re only adding a few extra calories and an occasional fried fish meal is still a healthful meal. You would be amazed at how much restaurant foods are cooked in the pan because chefs go for flavor first, so you shouldn’t hold back at home every once in a while. As far as frying being messy, it’s really not so bad, expecially if you’re pan frying with a smaller amount of oil as opposed to deep-frying. Smelling upthe house? Frying good, fresh fish smells great while cooking. Turn on your hood fan (open the windows in the summer) and there’s really not much of a lingering odor. We do quite a bit of frying at our house and unless our friends are just being polite, there’s no “fry smell” problem.

This weekend we’ll have lots of goodies for the pan. gorgeous Monterey Sardines, porgies, bronzini, smelt, lake perch and lots more. Fire up the skillet and fry up some panfish tonight!

Monahan's Seafood

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