Catfish may not be the classiest fish in the sea, but it sure is Southern, and it’s definitely sustainable. Like striped bass (last week’s featured fishy) it is mostly farmed in the United States. And when it’s dredged in cornmeal and fried, it’s just plain delicious.
Now my dad is by no means a supercook, but he has his niche specialties. And being that he hails originally from Mississippi, frying is one of them. I have many memories from childhood of him bringing home Cajun catfish fillets and sending them into the oil. Thanks, nostalgic flashback complete.
But he was onto something. The easiest way to fry fish like this in a breading is to use a straight-sided pan, with oil coming about halfway up the sides of the fillet. Like this:
The result is a crispy crust and a moist flaky fillet. And the easiest way to calm the crazy Cajun spice is to dip the fried catfish in Remoulade sauce, or a glorified briny mayonnaise with anchovies, pickles and capers. Because sometimes culinary school technique is out, and Dad is in. After all, he knows best – or so I’ve been told.
Fried Catfish & Remoulade Sauce
- 4 catfish fillets, skinless, cut lengthwise if thin strips are desired
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 egg, beaten with a little water
- 1 cup cornmeal, coarse-ground
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp Cayenne pepper
- Canola oil, enough to come halfway up the fillets in the pan
- Remoulade Sauce
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 2 Tbs Cajun brown mustard
- 2 Tbs Cornichon pickle, minced
- 1 Tbs capers, minced
- 1 anchovy, minced
- 2 Tbs pickle brine from jar
- 1 tsp black pepper
- Combine all ingredients and stir to combine. Reserve for dipping.
- Dry outside of fillets with paper towels. Season with salt and both peppers. Set up flour, egg wash and cornmeal in three separate shallow containers.
- Dredge fillets first in flour, then in egg, then in cornmeal. Set on a rack for 15 minutes to allow breading to adhere. [img src= “http://edibletimes.wpengine.com/sustainable-seafood-fridays-fried-catfish-remoulade-sauce/img_3949/” width=”200″ height=”200″]
- In a large straight-sided pan, heat canola oil until it ripples. Fry catfish until crust is golden brown on both sides, flipping once. Serve with remoulade sauce.