"Not many fellows 'round the Chesapeake Bay know more about what the fish are thinking or where they're hiding than Michael Paul Dahl. He lives with his family on the banks of Middle River, Maryland, and likes nothing better than spending a day on the water trying to lure the fishies to his carefully baited hook. This recipe came to him while he was fishing blue gills around Denton, Maryland. The locals there were catching crabs, and, at the end of the day, between them and Michael, they had a pile of crabs and blue gills. Normally that would be an unlikely pairing, but Michael set his head to working and he crafted this absolutely scrumptious dish that makes Friday nights (or any other, for that matter) worth waiting for."
Michael Paul's fish sticks
Serves six to eight
1 heaping tablespoon mayonnaise
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 pound backfin or claw crab meat, picked over for shell
1 1/2 pounds fish fillets (blue gill, crappie or any small whitefish fillets) cut into 3 by 1 inch pieces)
2 cups Bisquick
vegetable oil for frying
In a small bowl combine the egg, mayonnaise, mustard, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, tarragon and parsley. Mix well.
Place the crab meat in a large mixing bowl and pour the egg mixture over the top. Mix gently, taking care not to break up the lumps of crab meat.
Line a baking sheet with waxed paper. Arrange the fish fillets on the baking sheet. Mound some of the crab mixture evenly on top of each fillet. It should be about 1/4 inch high. Place the baking sheet in the freezer until the fish and crab mixture is stiff, about 45 minutes.
Make a thin tempura-like batter out of the Bisquick and ice water. In a skillet pour in oil until it reaches a depth of about 1 inch and heat to 375. Being careful not to crowd the pan, dip each fillet into the batter, coating completely, and slip into the pan crab-side down. Pan fry, turning once, until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Remove the fillets to paper towels to drain. If all the fillets do not fit in the skillet at once, hold the cooked fillets in a warm oven while the others are being fried.
Serve hot with plenty of lemon wedges.