Heart Healthy from WakeMed Heart Center

Crispy Fish Collars with Texas Pete Butter

June 4, 2019 |

Recipe courtesy of Chef James Clark.
as seen on episode “Pound Net Fishing | Cedar Island, NC“, Season 8


Serves 4

You are probably not going to find Fish Collars in your local Grocery Store. This is something that you will have to go to a seafood market or better yet call ahead and ask the Fish Monger to please save you the collars! The Collar is the part of the fish that is right behind the gill plate and where the pectoral fin is attached. They remind me of a chicken thigh.

Texas Pete Butter


  • 1 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 ½ Cups Texas Pete
  • ½ lb. Butter


Mix Texas Pete and Brown Sugar in a heavy bottom sauce pot and bring to a simmer.
Simmer for 3-4 minutes and then remove from the heat and add the butter and swirl until butter is fully incorporated. Keep warm but do not re-simmer.



  • 12 ea. Collars from either (or a mix of) Black Drum, Sheepshead, Grouper, Black Bass. (We used Black Drum. I find that the best ones are from fish that are in the 4-8-pound range)
  • 1 Tbsp. Onion Powder
  • 1 Tbsp. Garlic Powder
  • 1 Tbsp. Smoked Paprika
  • 1 Tbsp. Black Pepper
  • 1 ½ Tbsp. Sea Salt
  • 2 Cups Buttermilk
  • 1 ½ Cups Fine White Cornmeal
  • 2 Cups Flour
  • 1 Gallon of Peanut Oil

-You can marinate your collars up to 2 days in advance.
-You can substitute the flour for cornstarch to make this gluten free.


In a small bowl blend all the spices well and whisk in the buttermilk.
Make sure all your collars are clean, free of scales & pat dry if any water is present.
Mix the collars, buttermilk and spice mixture together and place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.
Pull collars from the cooler at least 20 minutes before you serve them.
Mix the flour and cornmeal together and season with just a touch of salt and pepper. Roll collars in flour mixture and make sure they are well coated especially the fins.
Heat your oil to 365 degrees. Place into the fryer and fry until collars float (about 3-4min). Once done drain on a paper towel, sauce and serve immediately.

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