Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Tis the season for a fish fry!

As I noted last week, the weather really does dictate so much about what you feel like cooking, and this week the rising temperatures down South make me realize that we best take advantage of this time when outside cooking can still be a pleasure rather than a sweaty chore! I admit that you folks who live further north have the advantage; many of y'all will probably grill out throughout the summer in near idyllic weather.

Well, here I have a proposition for something much more fun and exciting than a about a fish fry? At the Glass Onion we are known for our fried catfish,and as someone who grew up eating a lot of fried catfish I feel that I can attest to its deliciousness! We are proud to serve the only all natural, farm raised catfish in the United States, which comes from Carolina Classics in North Carolina. Their farming practices yield an especially tasty fish, as does our recipe, which I share below.

In my mind, Memorial Day weekend would be the perfect time for a fish fry!

Fried Catfish

Let's be upfront -- frying seafood at home is just not that easy. This is why in our upcoming cookbook we have chosen to include a recipe, only for fried catfish, versus fried shrimp or oysters. The catfish is a little more forgiving, and it is truly unique because of our mustard marinade. Plus, there are few parties more fun than a fish fry. To turn this into a party, simply double the recipe, fire up your gas camp stove, and set up on your porch or deck. Line the table with old newspapers, and you are in business. The reality is that fried seafood is best straight out of the oil, and the party setting allows you to serve folks immediately. Just be sure to snag a couple of pieces for yourself and have an assistant handy with cold beverages!

2 pounds catfish filets, boneless
1 cup yellow mustard
1 cup Creole mustard, or other whole grain mustard
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
1 1/2 cups corn starch
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon freshly ground white pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne

Combine catfish, yellow mustard, and Creole mustard in a large bowl and toss with your hands until the catfish is thoroughly coated. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 and up to 24 hours.

Preheat oven to 200 degrees.

Heat 4 inches of oil to 375 degrees in a large pot. (A skillet can also be used, but the pot helps reduce splattering!)

Combine flour, cornmeal, corn starch, salt, black pepper, white pepper, and cayenne in a large bowl; whisk to combine. Dredge catfish through flour mixture and transfer to a wire rack set over a baking sheet.

Using tongs, carefully drop two filets at a time into oil and fry until breading is very crispy, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer filets to a paper-lined baking sheet, season with additional salt and pepper (to taste), and hold in the oven as you fry the remaining pieces of catfish.

Serve with cocktail, tartar, or remoulade sauce! I'll include our recipe for remoulade below as this classic French sauce (and staple in New Orleans cooking) might not be in your repertoire.

Red Remoulade

Remoulade is a classic French mayonnaise-based sauce. And like many French culinary traditions, it is a staple in the cuisine of south Louisiana. You might toss peeled, boiled shrimp in it for the famed shrimp remoulade salad found on many New Orleans menus. Or you might use it simply as a dipping sauce for our Fried Catfish.

1 cup mayonnaise
¼ cup ketchup
2 tablespoons Creole mustard, or other whole grain mustard
2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
Splash of hot sauce

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl; whisk until well combined.

YIELD: About 1 1/2 cups (enough to dress 1 pound of peeled, boiled shrimp)

P.S. You can leave out the ketchup, making it "white remoulade" -- a similarly tasty sauce!

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