crappie with greens and red pepper cream sauce

Fried Fish With Pepper Cream Sauce

What do you do when you are required to go into quarantine? The obvious answer for me was to go fishing. The result was this fried fish with pepper cream sauce.

crappie and cream sauce

My mom tested positive for COVID last week so Ginny and I had to quarantine for at least one week. This is when you find out how important your fishing pole and subscription to Netflix really are. I’m just imagining it’s a week long retreat offered free by Global Pandemic Services, Inc. How nice of them, right?

Seriously, it doesn’t get much more local than this. I caught these nice crappie about 40 minutes from home in Beaver Lake. Although we do have some catfish farms in other parts of Arkansas, none are nearly as close as I caught these fish. In addition, the red peppers I used in the sauce came from the garden of a friend at work. Ok, so I didn’t grow the coconuts for the coconut milk, but two out of three is not bad.

If you have been reading my blog lately, you’ll know that simplify is my latest obsession. Why? Because I’m lazy…and sometimes good taste is simple. That’s definitely true for making this fried fish with pepper cream sauce. For the fish, all you need is corn meal, flour, eggs, salt and some oil for a shallow fry.

crappie and breading

There are a few simple tricks for getting nice color and texture on your fish fillets. Let the fish soak for a minute or two in the eggs before you dredge them in the corn meal and flour mixture. Also, make sure you coat the fillets well with the breading. Make sure the oil is the right temperature when you put the fish in to cook. On my stove, I heat the oil for about five minutes on medium heat. You’ll know it’s ready if you throw in a drop of water and it sizzles.

Some people deep fry fish, but I find that a shallow fry works just as well and saves oil. I cover the bottom of the pan with about 1/4 inch of oil. Throw in the fillets and cook for about five minutes per side or until you get a nice golden brown color on both sides. The easy way to tell if the fish is done is when it flakes easily with a fork.

I made the pepper cream sauce completely Paleo by using full fat coconut milk. You could use cream and butter instead for a non-Paleo option. The sauce would also be great with grilled chicken or salmon.

crappie up close

We threw in some collared greens as a side here. Mashed potatoes, baked sweet potatoes or pan cooked squash are also be great options. I need to get in my fill of comfort foods before the Thanksgiving gluttony sets in.

Fried Fish With Pepper Cream Sauce

Recipe by JustinCourse: simple mealsCuisine: FishDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time




  • 1/2 cup olive oil

  • 2 lbs. fish fillets (crappie, bass or catfish are great)

  • 1 cup corn meal

  • 1/2 cup flour

  • 2 eggs

  • 1 tsp salt

  • Pepper Cream Sauce
  • 10 oz. sweet peppers, chopped

  • 1/2 onion, chopped

  • 7 cloves garlic, peeled

  • 1 tsp. salt

  • 1/3 cup full fat coconut milk

  • 2 tsp. lemon juice

  • 1/2 tsp black pepper


  • Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat. In a medium bowl, beat eggs lightly and place fish in to coat.
  • On a cutting board or counter top, mix together corn meal, flour and salt. Take fish fillets from eggs and dredge well in the corn meal mixture.
  • Fry fish in oil for about 4-5 minutes per side or until golden brown. Fish will flake easily with a fork when done.
  • Meanwhile, add all the pepper cream sauce ingredients to a blender and mix until smooth. Serve with your favorite veggies and enjoy!

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