Fish is a traditional Lenten dish.
I went to the grocery store yesterday to get fish. The halibut looked good, but it was $27.00 a pound. I’m a little too thrifty for that. The catfish, which is the fish du jour for the Texas Hill Country, was $6.50. We were having catfish.
Some people batter up their catfish in buttermilk. I understand that, and use buttermilk for my fried chicken, but have found it tends to alter the savory fish flavor of the catfish so I don’t use it. Others use beer, and that is good on cod or halibut, but not on catfish. At least, not in my personal opinion.
1. Cut the catfish filets into the sizes you want. Clean with cold water and let set in cold water.
2. Mix yellow cornmeal and flour in a 2 parts to 1 part ratio. How much you need will depend upon how much fish you fry.
3. Drain the fish, but leave it in the bowl. Dash in salt, pepper, lemon pepper, and paprika. You could also add some oregano or basil, but I like to keep my catfish a little simpler. I do, however, if I have it, like to throw in some ‘fish rub’ spices that you can get most anywhere. The one exception I would add is stay clear of Cajun seasoning, unless you are intending to make Cajun styled food.
4. Mix up the fish and the spices well with your hands.
5. Heat up a frying pan filled about 1/3 high with canola oil. When the oil is hot enough, begin to dip the fish filets into the dry mix. Make certain every inch of the fish is covered and then drop them into the hot oil.
6. Cook the fish filets for about 5-6 minutes, or until they begin to turn golden underneath. Flip and cook another 2-3 minutes on the other side. When both sides are golden brown with slight fl3cks of dark brown on the crust, take them out and cover with foil. Do not overcook the catfish, it will make it gummy.
You can fry multiple batches, as the fish will stay plenty warm under the foil.
Now, I served my catfish with homemade cole slaw. It turned our delish. Make the slaw about an hour before you are going to fry the fish.
1. Grate 3-4 peeled and cleaned carrot sticks, put in a large bowl.
2. Dice one half of a red onion. Put it in the same bowl as the carrots.
3. Cut up a half head of cabbage in the bite size portions you want. You can dice it or julienne it, whatever you desire. Put it in the same bowl.
4. Salt and pepper it, and throw in about four tablespoons of sugar.
5. Pour in 3 teaspoons of vinegar.
6. Add about a half a cup of Miracle Whip. You can start small with the Miracle Whip and add more as you like. It is all a matter of taste. Remember, you can always add more, but you can’t take any out once you’ve put it in.
7. Wash your hands thoroughly and mix the slaw up with your hand. A spoon just will not do what a hand will do.
Refrigerate for about an hour before you serve it.
Now, the way I liked to serve this dish is to put it all between buns. I top the catfish filet with cole slaw right on top and then squeeze the buns together. No ketchup or tartar sauce needed. Yum.