The vast majority of panfish in this country arrive at the table fried, and there's a good reason for that: Few fish fry up better. An acquaintance of mine once lived happily on nothing but fried bluegills (this was in Mississippi, where we call them bream) for 30 straight days and nights, eating six or eight fish a day and, local legend has it, never changing the grease. I can't think of any other fried fish-other than catfish, maybe-that the stomach and brain would exclusively accept for such a prolonged period. Though subtle, even whispery flavor differences exist between the panfish species, all boast firm, flaky-white meat and a mild, clean, creamy taste (in Louisiana, that creaminess lends the crappie its local name, sac-au-lait, which is French for "bag of milk"). I've always preferred frying panfish whole-cleaned, scaled, with just the head removed-for two reasons: Filleting a mess of panfish is a chore worth avoiding, and the crispy fried tails (of young bluegills, especially) are outlandishly delicious. Think piscatorial pork rinds.