Fortunately, his mother gave me her catfish recipe. I had my fryer (already hot from cooking hush puppies) and I had the catfish, which had finally thawed completely, thanks to putting the zipper bag from the grocery store in a bowl of cold water. This is a small town, far from catfish country, so we had to settle for frozen fillets on short notice.
The instructions I had said to fry the fish first, and I suspect some flavors would transfer to the hush puppies as they're cooking. But I had to wait for the fish to thaw, so I did hush puppies first. Next time I will allow thawing time - if I can't get fresh, or at least thawed, catfish - and do the fish first. And yes, there will undoubtedly be a next time, if only to make my husband happy!
Mixing the coating was easy, since I had already made self-rising cornmeal for the hush puppies, and I had been able to buy self-rising flour.
One thing that surprised me was how much the buttermilk clung to the fish when I took it out of the soak. I guess I'm used to regular milk, which doesn't cling as much.
It did make it easy to coat the fish pieces, however, and they retained their layer of cornmeal nicely.
Finally, we reached the rewarding end of the experiment: Tasting! OK, I admit it, we'd been sampling hush puppies as I worked, and had decided on the more-onion option as the preferred version. Steve, to his credit, had been patient and helpful, and took the pictures that accompany these posts. He had even managed not to eat all the hush puppies while he waited for the fish. (Though, in truth, there were so many hush puppies we actually had leftovers - which he ate the next day with the last couple pieces of fish. Imagine, it was good enough to eat as leftovers!!)
Here's the finished product, in all its glory. And the recipe for the fish is below the picture.
Next up, banana pudding. After all, you can't have a good Southern meal without a sweet finish!!
|Fried catfish and hush puppies - can't get much more Southern than this!|
2 1/2 - 3 pounds of catfish fillets
1 tsp salt
2 cups buttermilk
2 cups self-rising cornmeal
1 cup self-rising corn flour
lemon quarters (optional)
Place fish in a shallow pan and sprinkle with salt. Pour buttermilk over fish and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Combine cornmeal and flour. Remove fish from buttermilk. Dredge fish in cornmeal mixture. Carefully drop fish in deep fat heated to 370 degrees. Fry until fish float the the top and are golden brown. Drain well and serve with lemon quarters. 8 servings.
(Note: I only used 1 pound of fish, since I was feeding two people, and we had a little bit left over.)