Thursday, November 17, 2016

Cornbread Fried Catfish

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But not just any catfish.  This has the classic very very Old School crispy crunchy cornmeal coating.  Jiffy Mix already contains baking powder and just a bit of lard to hold the coating together,

Cornbread fried Catfish was a weekly (or more) dish from my youth.  For a while, mu grandfather ran a bait shop on the St Francis river where it meets the  Lake Wappapella dam in hillbilly country of the eastern Ozarks.  Whenever I visited I read up on my 'Lil Abner comics so I would fit in.

My Grandmother passed when I was young, but I can still picture her standing at her stove with her can of lard beside her and these gems frying up in her cast iron.  'Course the best tasting version of this recipe came from out back along the river when family, friends and neighbors of my grandfather would set their skillet over an open fire, fillet their catch of the day and fry em up right there.  Grandpa had that box of cornmeal and lard handy for just those folks.

My version has been citified a bot.  I fry in Canola Oil and use the pre-mixed Cornbread Jiffy Mix but the tastes are there to always bring back those memories of family passed and good times.

This particular Catfish was the centerpiece for one of my very favorite meals I have made in a long time.  Fried Cajun Jalapeno and Cheddar Corn Fritters and an incredible Cowboy Bacon Creamed Peas side.  Just a fantastic meal!

Enjoy and think of 'Lil Abner (or my Grandfather)

 OK... Here's what I did...

Cornbread Fried Catfish

  • 1 Box Jiffy Mix Cornbread
  • 3 Pounds Catfish fillets
  • 1 Cup Flour
  • 2 Large Eggs, whipped
  • 2 TBS Old Bay Seasoning Mix
  • 1/2 Cup Tartar Sauce for Garnish
  • Canola Oil for frying.  Enough to cover the bottom of the pan, only about 1/2 inch
Cooking Directions
  1. Heat oil in a large heavy bottomed frying pan, Cast Iron works great.  Oil needs to splatter when a drop or two of water is added.  But not too violent of a splatter,
  2. VERY IMPORTANT... "Dry" each of the fillets with paper towels to prevent a gummy coating.
  3. Set up three stations, a plate with the flour... A bowl with the whipped eggs... A plate with the Jiffy Mix combined with the Old Bay seasonings.
  4. Dredge the fish fillets in the flour, well coating both sides.  Immediately, Dip the floured fillets into the eggs coating both sides, Immediately dip the egg coated fillets into the cornmeal well coating all sides and finally, immediately fry in the hot oil.  If needed, work in batches so the fish does not overlap in the oil.  No crowding. 
  5. Fry until golden brown on each side for 3-4 minutes. Drain on paper towels to absorb excess oil.
  6. Serve warm with a dollop of Tartar Sauce and ENJOY!

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