Sunday, October 21, 2007

Down Home Fried Catfish

A Fish Fry Favorite

Some time back catfish wasn’t what I thought of as “good eats.” Reasons why? First of all I just never tried it. Secondly, I just didn’t like the looks of ‘em. Terrible reasons, I know, especially from me being a “foodie” and all.

But the truth is, many people use the same crazy reasons (more accurately called, “excuses”) why they don't like a certain dish as well. Well, let me share this little story with you and maybe, just maybe catfish will become one of your favorites like it is mine now.

My wife’s family has a semi-annual fish fry that is greatly anticipated by everyone. We all bring a little something, but the spotlight is always the fish. All types of fish are prepared, but my new favorite became, on that day, catfish.

I can still remember the day I tried catfish just like it was yesterday. The weather was warm with a cool breeze flowing, a distinctive smell of frying fish in the air. Everyone was enjoying an icy cold beverage, playing darts, pool, horseshoes and eating up some real good vittles.

My wife brings over a plate of catfish and asks me to try it. “Nah, I’m ok,” I said, noticing that her overall expression has now changed. No one ever accused me of being real smart, but I am smart enough to realize that the look from her meant, “Eat it or wear it.”

So grabbing my first ever nugget of unkowingly perfectly prepared catfish, I bit into the flaky piece and said, “Hey, this is pretty good.” I thought, “Hmmm, I’d like to have myself a little fish fry of my own. A similar outing with good friends, good drink, and good eats would be great. But I need to pick someone’s mind about the catfish and hushpuppies and then I can get to making it myself.”

My wife smiled at me and said, “See. It didn’t kill ya'. Now get over yourself.” She then turned and walked away.

Yes, I will live to see another day, whew! But seriously, I did really like this delightful new taste sensation and went to the table to fix me a plate of my own.

Well, after much trial and error I have finally come across a method for making delicious fried catfish. I have tried wet batters and many different dry mixtures till I finally settled on this particular recipe as my all time favorite. (It seems that all who partakes agrees also. Hope you will too.)

Ingredients:
Frying Oil – preferably peanut oil, but you can use canola or whatever frying oil you prefer
Flour (white)
Cornmeal
Catfish fillets – cut into 2 inch pieces
Salt
Old Bay Seasoning

How To Make It:
1. Preheat a fryer with oil to 350 degrees.


T-Fal 2.65-lb. Titan Class Pro-Fryer Deep Fryer, Stainless Steel


T-Fal 2.65-lb. Titan Class Pro-Fryer Deep Fryer, Stainless Steel


2. Mix together the flour and cornmeal. I usually measure these out 4 to 1, for example: 1-cup flour to ¼ cup cornmeal, or say, 4 cups flour to 1-cup cornmeal. It all depends on how much fish you are going to make.

3. Place the flour-cornmeal mixture in a paper bag. You can use a large covered plastic bowl if you prefer.

4. Season each catfish piece lightly with salt and the Old Bay seasoning. (Do watch the amount of seasoning you use. You don’t want this to taste like a salt lick.)

5. Place the fish in the flour-cornmeal mixture and shake, shake, shake till they are covered evenly.

6. Place the fish in the oil carefully and deep fry for 8 minutes. (Don’t over crowd the fish in the fryer because they won’t cook evenly and they will stick together.)

7. Drain the catfish on newspaper or paper towels and serve with slaw, hushpuppies or your favorite fixins.

Hope this becomes one of your Fish Fry Favorites!




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