Fried Pickerel Cheeks

Posted by Pussycat in Main Dishes | 4 Comments


It’s not deep fried!

Yes it is.

No. It’s not… its pan fried.

Just because it’s fried in a PAN doesn’t mean it’s not deep fried.

But it’s in a PAN.

But it’s still fried in oil.

Deep fried is when it’s fried in a vat of oil.

Just because it’s fried one side at a time doesn’t mean it’s not deep fried… it’s still fried in oil… hence its deep fried.

There’s nothing deep about pan frying.

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That’s how the insane argument goes at our house. I’m trying to stay away from deep fried foods, pan or deep hot pot of oil. Often there’s a comment in there somewhere about how he’s trying to kill me… the one that loves me so much, feeding me full of fried foods, driving up that cholesterol number to trouble causing levels according to my doctor. But sometimes… like when I’m craving pickerel or pickerel cheeks I can be the one to instigate the frying frenzy at our house, throwing caution to the wind, hiding behind the nutrition value of fish to justify the frying of food.

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Everything tastes better deep fried! P says it like it’s a reason to restrict our food intake to fried foods and sometimes I say the same thing but with a tone of desperation as if to lament not being able to eat all the best tasting foods. It’s not that I disagree with him… it’s just that I have to face the numbers when I get my blood work done and they’re often not pretty. And my doctor doesn’t care that I’m predisposed to high cholesterol and she doesn’t care that this really is the best tasting food.

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I grew up on ‘fried’ pickerel, lightly breaded and fried to golden crispy perfection, the fish tender and flaky has become for me a true comfort food from years and years of eating it that way. Always served up on Christmas Eve though we don’t and have never followed any religious traditions and other times we would fish our meal during weekends spent on boat in the Whiteshell area. Deep fried… or pan fried… pickerel just fits any occasion. And it doesn’t matter if you call it Pickerel or Walleye … we call it the best fish around.

Eating fish this way has ruined me for all other recipes and any battered fish at most restaurants. I could never become accustomed to a thicker batter that finding that it obscures the tender fish with its heaviness. I like it crispy and very lightly breaded and FRIED.

Sometimes when I`m feeling particularly passive aggressive I lightly salt and season the fish with caraway seeds and quickly broil it while I fry up a breaded batch for the rest of the folks in the house. These times are far and few between though, regardless of how much I protest, this is my favourite way to eat fish.

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I`m guessing it will be yours too…. if you dare to fry.


(Deep) Fried Pickerel Cheeks

  • 2 lbs of pickerel cheeks rinsed and lightly sprinkled with salt
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup fine bread crumbs
  • 1-2 eggs
  • Salt to season the meat

Place the flour, breadcrumbs and eggs each in a separate bowl. Lightly whisk the eggs and then coat the fish first in the flour, then eggs and lastly the breadcrumbs.

Bring a pan of about ½ inch of oil to medium heat and in batches fry the coated fish pieces until golden brown, turning over midway. The fish can also be fried in a deep fryer but that would just feel wrong to us….  This way we can pretend to not be eating ‘deep fried’ food.

Take the fish out of the pan and place on paper towel to absorb the extra grease. Serve while hot with lemon or your favorite tartar sauce.


4 Responses to Fried Pickerel Cheeks

  1. bob says:

    where would I buy pickerel cheeks ? – on Vancouver Island and nobody knows of them – do you have a supplier in another province
    I could then have shipped/

    • Pussycat says:

      Hi Bob,

      I’m pretty sure that Walleye or Pickerel is primarily a Manitoba freshwater fish. Gimli Fish Market or Neptune Fisheries would both be good places to get pickerel filets or cheeks from Winnipeg. The Smiths in Gimli also sell pickerel though I’m not sure if they sell the cheeks.

  2. Brian Liebrecht says:

    Filming is the best place for cheeks. Sveinson or there are locals there too. I heard neptunes in Winnipeg is bringing in white fish cheeks from Ukraine you don’t want that!

  3. Brian Liebrecht says:

    Sorry Gimli is the best place.

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