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Thursday, June 16, 2016

Southern Fried Catfish

Southern Fried Catfish Nuggets cooked in Peanut Oil

I fixed catfish for dinner tonight (or as we said in the south "supper") and thought I'd post my recipe on my blog so my kids have access to my favorites after I'm gone someday. I have many more of my favorites to post but it's just getting the time to do it. Even though I like catfish fillets, I prefer the catfish nuggets, because the pieces are smaller, which makes them crispier when cooked. Plus you'll be glad to know if you're on a budget, they are about half the price of the fillets. At Kroger they are $2.99 a lb as opposed to $6.99 you'd have to pay for the fillets.

When I was growing up in the deep south, I did not like catfish because it tasted muddy to me. That was because they swim on the bottom of muddy ponds and rivers. But when people started raising catfish in channels with fresh water, that changed everything. "Channel Cat", as its called now, is so much better tasting! It's fabulous and people laugh at me because I say I like catfish because it doesn't taste like fish!

One of the secrets to making this recipe tasty and crispy is using peanut oil. You can use any oil you like and others are less expensive, but I think its worth the price to make the catfish extra special. Peanut oil is allowed on the Paleo Diet, and is pretty healthy. I used to use only salt and pepper, flour and cornmeal when I cooked catfish and I love it that way, but now I use a few more spices and I think it's better.

I almost always make Cole Slaw (will post my recipe soon) with fried fish along with a vegetable and another side dish. Tonight I fixed Southern Summer Squash Casserole and a big fruit salad. Of course I fixed sweet iced tea to go along with this meal. The squash casserole is one of my favorites and similar to one I used to fix but lost the recipe. I halved the squash amount (1 and 1/2 lbs instead of 3 lbs) but did not change the other ingredients. I added more Vidalia onion than it calls for.  I cooked the casserole for 50 minutes at 350°.
I hope you enjoy my catfish recipe and the squash too!

                                             Southern Fried Catfish
                                                   (I usually double this recioe)

1 1/2  lbs Catfish Nuggets or Catfish Fillets
3/4 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
3/4 teaspoon Sweet Paprika
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 eggs
Peanut Oil

Mix the cornmeal flour, spices, salt and pepper together. You may want to use more. If you taste the dry mixture it will taste like there's enough or maybe too much, but after frying the fish, you will not taste the spices as much. That's why I say you may want to add more. Just experiment.  Using more cornmeal than flour is what helps to make it crispy. The flour helps hold everything together.

Next, beat the eggs into a bowl and add a little milk, stirring till blended. Then dip each piece of fish into the eggs, let drain, then put it into the flour misture, pressing the dry mixture to the fish. It will be better if you do this step before you heat the oil in the pan. Not doing this first will cause stress trying to keep up with the frying fish while you coat the rest of the fish.

Heat about 1/4" - 1/2" of oil into a large frying pan (medium hi heat) till hot. The oil will be ready when you sprinkle a tiny bit of flour in the hot oil and it sizzles. When the oil is hot enough, fry the fish on the first side till brown, then turn each piece over to fry the other side. It doesn't take real long, but I like my fish extra crispy, as you can see in my photo.

As the fish gets done, drain on an oven safe flat cookie sheet that has been lined with paper towels. Keep the fish in a warm oven as the other pieces are cooking.

Enjoy!

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