Fried Fish Egg Sac Recipe

Next time you're preparing a fish fry, save the egg sacs and fry them up for an appetizer (or cook's snack) that's as easy to cook as it is delicious.

Fried Fish Egg Sac Recipe

Fish egg sacs from fish such as perch and bluegill make a tasty appetizer and are simple to prepare.

Spring fishing can be fast and furious as spawning fish defend their beds. One of my favorite fish to catch, yellow perch, can provide for excellent fishing in the spring as the ice melts away and a delicious meal to follow. A Friday fish fry is a staple in Wisconsin, regardless of your religious beliefs. There's nothing like fried fish, rye bread and coleslaw to bring people together. But if you prepare your own fish fry, especially in the spring, you're likely to encounter some female fish carrying eggs. Did you know those eggs are not only edible, but incredibly simple to prepare? 

When asked about eating fish eggs, most people will likely think of caviar and masago. Caviar is the cured roe from sturgeon, and masago comes from capelin. Unlike caviar and masago which are separated from the outer egg sac, these fried fish egg sacs are cooked intact, at least that's goal. As you can see from the photo above, one of my egg sacs was severed during the filleting process, but it still cooked just fine. 

As you can imagine, the bigger the fish, the bigger the egg sac. Of the eight perch I kept from this fishing trip, four were females ranging in size from 8 inches to 10 1/2 inches. These egg sacs were relatively uniform in size, except the outlier from the largest perch. This is important because cooking time will vary based on the size of egg sac. 

Eight perch are just too much for this fish lover to eat in a single sitting, so I decided on a lunch of fried egg sacs instead, saving the fillets for another Friday when I could dine with some company. If you were preparing a fish fry at the same time, you can cook the egg sacs in the fryer oil before the fish as a tasty appetizer, either breaded or naked. In this case, I wasn't frying fish, so I chose a simpler preparation.

Prior to cooking, rinse the egg sacs and remove anything that doesn't look like it belongs. Be gentle, since the egg sacs are relatively fragile, though not as delicate as you might expect. As they cook, the sac itself toughens up a bit to encase the individual eggs, much like a sausage casing. Melt 3 or 4 tablespoons of butter in a small frying pan on medium-low heat and add some minced garlic. If you were able to remove the egg sacs completely intact, be sure to poke a few small holes in them with a toothpick prior to cooking. This will prevent a hot fish egg explosion later on. Pat dry the egg sacs and place them in the frying pan. Cook them 3 to 5 minutes per side, depending on size. 

Smaller egg sacs, like those from bluegill and other panfish, are the perfect size to be served on your favorite cracker or crostini with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Larger egg sacs require a bit more cutlery. Next time you're filleting fish, consider keeping those egg sacs and surprising your dinner guests with an amuse bouche that is sure to raise some eyebrows and leave them asking for more.

Pan-fried egg sacs will have a golden brown outer casing that is similar to that of a sausage.
Pan-fried egg sacs will have a golden brown outer casing that is similar to that of a sausage.


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