Do you love big bluegill?
Okay y'all...here we go! First, fillet about 15 quality sized gills ( 8-9.5 inches), skin them, and check thoroughly for bone removal. Put a pot of water on medium heat and add the fillets, bringing the pot eventually to a slow boil. As the pot heats up, occasionally stir the fillets, as they will break down and flake nicely.
Next, drain the fish meat thoroughly in a collander and place the meat in a large bowl. It is important to make them as dry as you can get them, so when you add other ingredients it wont become too difficult to 'pat' them into cakes. Should look something like this below...before adding ingredients...
Then, add any spices, herbs or flavorings that you prefer to your dry mix of the meat. Some cooks will marinate the flaked bluegills overnight in teriyaki or other flavorings. Choice is yours. Then, beat a large egg and add to the meat, stirring completely. You may need to add more egg, but do so carefully, not to over saturate them. Gradually mix in some seasoned bread crumbs and mix until you can form nice, patted cakes that will stay together. Then coat the patties with your favorite coating...flour, pancake batter, House Autry, what ever. Then place them in a pan of cooking oil, your choice, at 375 degrees and allow about 3 to 4 minutes on each side, or until golden brown.
Once they are golden brown on each side, simply drain them on paper towels and serve with or without rolls, favorite veggies, etc. They make dynamite sandwiches or can stand alone with the best of them!
Clearly, there are many variations of this fish cake recipe that we all can tweek to our prefered tastes. I think next time out I am going to try and make bacon/cheese bluegill burgers! The real secret is to mix the fish and flavorings so that the patties stay together during the pan-fry process. Too dry or too moist and they tend to fall apart.
Hope this helps!