Recipes & Tidbits: Wrapping a Crappie in a Tortilla

Vernon Summerlin

            Tortilla is Spanish meaning “small cake”. A flour or wheat tortilla is a type of soft, thin flatbread made from finely ground wheat flour. Originally derived from the corn (maize) tortilla, this bread predates the arrival of Europeans to the Americas.

            Flour tortillas are commonly prepared with meat, mashed potatoes, cheese and other ingredients. Tortillas are widely used in the United States, in recipes of Mexican origin. They are commonly used in burritos. As a testament to their popularity, the Tortilla Industry Association estimated Americans consumed approximately 85 billion tortillas in 2000 (not including tortilla chips). Tortilla chips are made from maize tortillas cut into wedges and then fried.

            YamahaSome alternative ways tortillas can are eaten in the United States include combinations with beans and meat, apple cinnamon and sugar, or peanut butter and jelly. The results of such alternative dishes are often referred to as “wraps”. Flour tortillas are also used to make fajitas, sandwiches, casseroles and stews, and hot dogs, among their numerous other uses. Many people from northern Mexico and some Mexicans in the southwestern United States eat tortillas as a staple food.

Spicy Crappie Tortillas with Sauce

            10 crappie fillets (or how many are required for your dining)

            10 tortillas (one per fillet)

1 cup cornmeal

            1 teaspoon salt

            1 teaspoon black pepper

            Canola oil

            Shredded cabbage

            Onion, finely chopped (optional)

            Cheese, shredded (optional)

            Hot sauce, ad lib (optional)

Mix corn meal, salt and pepper. Dredge fillets in dry mix and fry in hot oil (350-365 degrees F.) for about 6-7 minutes or until done. Drain on brown paper grocery sack, paper towels or draining rack. Save other ingredients for when you’re ready to build your tortilla.

Spicy Tortilla Sauce

            10 corn tortillas (or one per crappie fillet)

            1 cup mayo

             1 cup sour cream

             2 chipotle peppers (canned)

            1/2 lime, fresh juice

            1/2 teaspoon salt

            1/2 teaspoon black pepper

DD OutdoorBlend mayo, sour cream, chipotle peppers, lime juice, salt and black pepper for about 1 minute in food processor. Chill unless it will be consumed shortly. Heat tortillas in a dry skillet or lightly spray with oil to soften tortillas (about 30 to 40 seconds). On a plate or platter, place one fillet in a tortilla, top with sauce and cabbage and roll it up. If you prefer any of the optional ingredients, add those before rolling the tortilla. Hot sauce can be sprinkled inside or on the outside of the rolled up tortilla.

TIP:  Test-taste and season your ingredients at every stage of cooking. If don’t, by the time you’re ready to plate your dish, it’s probably too late to alter it.

Mississippi-Style Fried Fish

            2-3 crappie fillets per person

            2 cups of yellow enriched cornmeal

            1/2 cup of self-rising flour

            2 teaspoons of cayenne pepper

            Salt*

            Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning*

            Canola Oil

            Lemon juice

Mix corn meal, flour, cayenne pepper, salt and Creole Seasoning in large sealable bowl with lid or in a sealable plastic bag. Taste-test dry ingredients before committing them to your fillets.

Wet fillets and cut to bite-size. Put handful of fish in bowl or plastic bag at a time to avoid getting the dry mix too wet. Cover fish completely. Fry fish in oil at 350-365 degrees F.

Cook until done. Sprinkle lightly with lemon juice, if desired.

*Be salt conscious: Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning’s first ingredient is salt.

TIP: Draining fried foods – fish, chicken, fries and other items – on a brown paper grocery sack saves paper towels. Some cooks prefer the paper sack and some say they use the brown paper because it more or less a family tradition – and it’s cheaper. Some cooks prefer to drain their fried items on a rack. Paper towels work for me.