STUFFED BAKED CRAPPIE STACKS

STUFFED BAKED CRAPPIE STACKS8 crappie fish fillets

Salt

½ cup apple juice

¼ cup lemon juice

2 ounces creamed cheese, softened

¼ cup feta cheese crumbles

2 T. onion, finely chopped

1 large Granny Smith apple

Freshly ground black pepper

8 slices butter

Natural color toothpicks

Plain breadcrumbs for sprinkling

4 long, thin slices of a fresh red pepper, optional

Wash, drain, and pat dry the fish fillets with paper towels.  Sprinkle both sides with salt, and then place in a glass bowl.  Add apple juice and lemon juice to the bowl.  Gently stir to mix the juices with the fish fillets.  Cover the bowl and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

Spray-oil a flat-shallow baking dish; then evenly space four of the butter slices on the bottom of the dish as the base of the fish fillet stacks.

In a small mixing bowl, completely blend the softened creamed cheese and the feta cheese; then blend in the chopped onion.

Peel the apple and cut into half; then, cut into quarters and remove the core. Place an apple quarter with one cut-side down and evenly slice the quarter into thin wedges. Repeat with all apple quarters.

Drain and discard the juices from the fish fillets.

Begin making the stacks:

  1. Place four of the fillets over each butter slice in the baking dish.
  2. Evenly spoon all of the cheese mixture on the four fish fillets.
  3. Divide the apple wedges evenly on top of the cheese mixture.
  4. Place the remaining fish fillets over the apple wedges.
  5. Secure each stack with three toothpicks.
  6. Secure the remaining four butter slices with the center toothpick in each stack.
  7. Sprinkle each stack with some freshly ground black pepper.
  8. Top the stacks with a red pepper slice on each.

Place the uncovered baking dish in the center of the oven and begin baking at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.  After 20 minutes, open the oven and spoon the juices that have accumulated in the bottom of the pan over the tops of the fish fillet stacks.  Close the oven and continue to cook for another 10 minutes.  After the second cooking time, remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle the tops of the stacks with breadcrumbs.  Move the oven rack to the top of the oven and place the cooking setting on broil at 500 degrees.  When the oven reaches 500 degrees, return the baking dish to the oven and carefully watch the tops of the stacks while they broil to a light brown color.

Serves: 2 to 4.