Cook Crappie And Revel In Special Treat

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I’ve always been a little miffed that I never inherited any of my father’s fishing expertise.

He was the consummate angler; I’ve always been the guy desperately hoping for a first bite.

His favorite Arizona lakes were Mead and Powell, but he also enjoyed deep-sea fishing off the coast of Southern California and in the Gulf of Mexico. He frequently traveled to the cold waters of Alaska to fish for salmon and to Washington and Oregon for halibut and rockfish.

He returned from most all his trips with limits of fish that he enjoyed preparing and serving to family and friends.

Among Pa’s favorite species to cook were crappie, and he was a master with simple preparations of the tasty fish — usually pan-frying them.

Growing up, I never paid much attention to how he cooked crappie, but after he died in 1983, I yearned for his recipes.

At first, I didn’t think they were written down, but I’ve come across what I think are his time-honored recipes.

Now, I don’t pretend the recipes are some type of high-end fare fit for a four-star restaurant, but they do yield some tasty morsels, especially when eaten with the knowledge that the catch is the fruits of your own — or your family’s — personal labors and skills.

To me, it seems hunting and fishing for family food is a much more venerable pursuit than buying sterile, packaged meat from a supermarket.

With a crappie fishing seminar set for March 15 at Mountain Bible Church, this might be a good time to share those simple, but delicious recipes with readers.

They are:

Beer battered crappie

Ingredients:

1 cup flour

1 cup flat beer

2 eggs

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

Instructions:

Mix flour, baking soda, baking powder and beer. Beat eggs lightly and add to mixture. Beat entire mixture until creamy. Dip dry fillets in batter and deep-fry at 375 degrees until golden brown.

Cornmeal crappie

Ingredients:

1/2 cup cornmeal

1/2 cup pancake mix

1/2 cup flour

3/4 cup milk

Water

Instructions:

Mix cornmeal, pancake mix and flour in a medium-sized bowl. Add milk and enough water to bring batter to proper consistency (thin but not watery). Mix until smooth. Dip fillets into batter completely and deep-fry until golden brown.

Niners tee off

The Payson Women’s Golf Association Nine Hole Club begins 2011 season play Thursday, April 7 at Payson Golf Course.

The “Payson Niners” play every Thursday morning beginning April 7, with tee times at 9 a.m. Golfers of all ages and skill levels are welcome. Any women interested in joining the league should call Debbie at (928) 595-1176 or Ann at (928) 468-6686.

Tee Off for Hunger

The St. Vincent de Paul Tee Off for Hunger’s 10th annual golf tournament will begin at 8 a.m. April 30 at Payson Golf Course. The entry fee is $75 and all proceeds benefit the Rim Country Food Bank.

To enter or for more information, call Mike Haynes at (928) 474-2191.

Little League

Registration for play in Payson Little League is rapidly wrapping up, but sponsors and coach-pitch league coaches are still needed.

The league is also in need of hole sponsors for its annual benefit golf tournament.

For the upcoming baseball and softball seasons, tryouts will be April 2 and opening day is April 30. 

Closing ceremonies are set for June 18. 

New this year in softball is a decision to redraft every player to their respective teams.

League official Felicia Moore said the decision was made because, “We feel it will make for a more competitive season.” 

Also in softball, former PHS coach Curtis Johnson will also be conducting a coaches’ clinic for all softball coaches. The date will be announced soon.

Moore’s advice for softball parents is, they “need to remember fast pitch softball is competitive; it is not parks and recreation type softball. Girls who are interested in pitching need to start now. 

“We have a few girls who have been pitching for four years and it shows when they get on the mound.” For more information, call Moore at (928) 476-5440.

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