Pan-fried Lemon Dill Whole Black Drum
By Market Chef Maggie Perkins from Maggie’s Farm
8 ounces Munkebo Farm back fat (see note)
1 large lemon, sliced
1 bunch scallions, sliced
1 cup all purpose flour
2 whole black drum fish, gutted, scaled and gills removed by K & S Seafood
1 bunch fresh dill
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.
In a deep skillet or wok, render back fat slowly over medium heat with 3 lemon slices and sliced scallions until fat is melted and bubbly and back fat ‘gribbons’ are crispy brown, 15-20 minutes. Remove all solids from pan.
Cut slits on each side of fish perpendicular to the spine about an inch a part (this assures the flesh is cooked evenly). Dredge whole fish lightly in flour, on both sides. Stuff inter cavity with 3 lemon slices, each, and several healthy sprigs of dill.
When fat is hot enough for a pinch of flour to sizzle (300-350 degrees), place one fish in fat (it will sizzle a lot so watch out here) on first side, about 6-8 minutes according to thickness of fish, until golden brown and crisp. Use a large spoon to baste the fish with the hot fat as it cooks. Turn and fry fish (I use 2 spatulas to help keep fish from splashing hot fat) on second side about 5 minutes, or until fish is done. (Check the inner cavity to assure interior flesh is opaque.). Remove to paper toweling, season with salt and pepper, and repeat with second fish.
If preparing more than 2 fish, let the cooked fish rest on a cooling rack set over a baking sheet in a 200°F oven.