You ever just had a craving for a certain type of food so bad, you just had to make it happen? Well that was my state of emotions last weekend. I verbally spoke of my desire for fried catfish, but ended up having Chinese food, which of course did not satisfy my craving, albeit the Chinese food was good.
Hailing from Texas and now living on the East Coast, fried catfish will always be a staple in my house. Growing up, my dad would bring home fresh caught catfish that would need complete cleaning, i.e., pealing the skin off the fish, cutting off the heads, gutting the fish and filleting it. Sounds like a lovely afternoon of tea and crumpets, right? I would jump up and down at just the thought of getting to help.
I also have fond memories of sitting on the back porch with a green 5-gallon bucket flipped upside down and covered with newspaper. I had a spoon in one hand, while holding down the fish with the other, and I would go to town scraping scales like it was nothing.
I always look high and low for fresh catfish, but more times than not, unless we go to the coast, or I catch it myself, I can only find farm raised here in the city. As I continue to share memories in the kitchen with my dad, it’s my hope you too are making memories in your kitchen.
Caveat emptor, which means “buyer beware” in Latin, the smell of any kind of fried fish can easily take over an entire house, so while frying be sure to have the range hood going, an open door, window or another form of ventilation to carry away the smell. If the weather is nice, my dad will go as far as frying the fish on the back patio, so it does not “smell up the house.”
Memorial Day is just around the corner and it’s never too late to start planning your menu. Make sure to add this fried fish, it will be the talk of the day. As an addition, I dropped hand cut french fries in the same seasoning mixture used for the fish and fried them as well. All of these items are best served immediately.
Craving more? Subscribe to Biscuits & Savvy and be the first to receive a fresh serving of content to your inbox. And stay in touch on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram for all of the latest updates.
Yields: 4-5 Servings
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 15 Minutes
- 4-5 5-7 Oz Catfish Fillets
- 1 ½ Cups Yellow Corn Meal
- 2 Tbsp All Purpose Flour
- 2 ½ tsp Baking Powder
- 1 tsp Kosher Salt
- 1 tsp Fresh Ground Black Pepper
- 1 tsp Garlic Powder
- ½ tsp Cayenne Pepper
- 1 tsp Cajun Seasoning
- 3 Cups (about) Vegetable or Canola Oil, adjust for your pan
- Rinse catfish, pat dry and set aside. Note: I always cut my pieces of fish in half lengthwise. If they’re larger fillets, I sometimes even cut them in half across the width, because they are so large.
- Begin preheating oil in a heavy bottomed skillet, I use an iron skillet, or a deep fryer. The oil is ready if and when you drop a sprinkle of seasoning mixture in to the hot grease and it sizzles. If you desire to be fancier than I, you can use a deep-fry thermometer to test the temperature of the oil. It should be at least 335 degrees F.
- Mix all seasonings together. Lightly season fish itself with salt or some other form of Cajun seasoning prior to coating it with the mixture. You can purchase pre-mixed fish fry mixes; however, they’re just not the same as making your own.
- Drop fish, 1-2 pieces at a time, in the mixture to evenly coat. Shake off excess. Remove to a plate and continue to coat the remainder of the fish in batches until it’s all coated.
- Once your grease is ready, per the tests above, begin by carefully dropping your battered fish in the hot oil. Cook each batch for 7-10 minutes, turning halfway through, until golden brown and crispy. Note: Only fry 2-3 pieces at a time – you do not want to over-crowd the skillet. This will bring down the temperature of the grease and also stop your fish from browning. Between each batch, you will need to allow the grease to reheat itself.
- Cover a heat resistant plate/dish with paper towel. Transfer fish to paper towel covered plate/dish to drain.
- After removing the fish from the hot oil, I always lightly sprinkle kosher salt over each batch. Serve immediately.
© 2016 Biscuits & Savvy