Keith Lusher 01.17.24
Here in South Louisiana, we learn to appreciate the cold weather that January provides. Along with the cold weather, we also have particular dishes that we save for those chilly mid-winter days. One of those dishes is a combination of two types of food that may seem odd: Fish and Beans. But it’s those two types of food that I’ve come to look forward to when winter rolls around. The idea was introduced to me by an old Cajun friend Benny Boudreaux who served up the dish to me back in the 90s. Boudreaux was a true cajun and seemed to have a unique recipe for every type of seafood that he caught on the bayou. Boudreaux did it all. He hunted, he fished, and he set traps for fur to sell at the market. He was certainly a jack of all trades and a master in the kitchen.
Since being introduced to fried crappie and white beans, I’ve made this dish a wintertime tradition and look forward to when I can whip up this cold-weather favorite. If you are interested in trying this dish out it’s important to select the right fillet of fish. When combining fried fish with white beans I’ve found that it is imperative to choose a mild-flavored fish. This means choosing fish that doesn’t taste fishy so this rules out all fish with bloodlines in the meat. I’ve found that crappie works best with this dish so I only use this type of fish when making this dish. Let’s start with how I fry my fish and then we’ll move on to the white beans and rice.
- Crappie fillets
- Louisiana Fish Fry (New Orleans Style)
- 1 cup yellow mustard
- Vegetable oil
When frying my fish I start with small to medium-sized crappie fillets. For an eggwash, I simply use yellow mustard. The mustard works perfectly to help the batter adhere to the fish and adds the perfect flavor to the fish in the end. For the batter, I use Louisiana New Orleans Style Fish Fry. Out of all the fish fry products I’ve tried with this recipe, the Louisiana brand works best and has the crispiest coating which is important when combining the fish with the white beans. After heating the vegetable oil to 370 degrees I add the fish and leave it in for five minutes or until it reaches a golden brown color. After getting done with all of the crappie fillets I set to the side in a separate container to be added to the white beans and rice at every meal. Be sure not to add the fish to the beans until you’re ready to eat the meal as the fried fish will soak up the moisture from the beans and become soggy.
White Beans and Rice
- White beans
- White rice
- Seasoning blend: yellow onion, green onions, bell pepper, parsley, and garlic.
- Chopped bacon
- Pickle meat
- Onion powder
- Garlic powder
- Bay leaves
- Kitchen bouquet
- liquid crab boil
When preparing the beans and rice I start with the white rice. While boiling the rice is an option I’ve gotten a bit lazy in my old age and resort to the microwave when making the rice. The recipe is simple.
Add 2 cups white to 4 cups of water in a covered dish
Microwave for 7 minutes and then let it sit for 2 minutes.
Microwave for another 7 minutes and take out the dish to sit for at least 15 minutes with the lid off. This allows the rice to dry out a bit.
When cooking the beans I use a large Magnalite pot.
Add the seasoning blend to your taste. (yellow onion, green onions, bell pepper, parsley, and garlic)
Add 1 pack of finely chopped bacon
Add pickle meat and a ham bone and cook on medium heat until it all begins to caramelize.
Add water, beans, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, bay leaves, a dash of Kitchen Bouquet, and a cap full of liquid crab boil. Cook on a light fire for 6 hours stirring
When the beans are done I add them to a container and put the rice in a separate container.
So in the end, I have three separate containers of rice, white beans, and fried fish. When I’m ready to eat I add the rice to the white beans then line the edge of the plate or bowl with the fried crappie fillets and heat the entire dish up. For those who like yellow mustard in their white beans, this dish tastes great as well. Of course, no bean dish is complete without a side of cornbread. As with any recipe, you’ll want to gauge the ingredients and adjust it to your specific taste with future recipes. Give this recipe a try. I’m sure this will become one of your favorite dishes, especially during the cold winter months!