Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Fried Catfish & Hushpuppies {The Homesick Texan Cookbook Spotlight & Cook-Off}

I have Lyrical Teen to thank for this.  And Lisa Fain.  You see, LT has been asking me constantly hinting to the fact that he wants catfish.  And I keep meaning to make it.  But somehow, it keeps getting pushed to the back burner.  And I don't mean that literally.  But when I realized that there was a fabulous cornmeal-crusted catfish recipe in The Homesick Texan Cookbook, I figured it was time to grant that wish.  Both of my boys gobbled it up.  I gobbled it up.  Drama Queen?  Gobbled.  Mexi loathes fish (other than tuna in a can)...and therefore didn't gobble it up.  Heck, it wasn't allowed anywhere near his person.  His loss.  That thin, pebbly-crisp crust encased the tender, juicy fish so perfectly.  Throw some hushpuppies on the plate and serve a crunchy green salad with a tangy dressing on the side.  That's dinner, baby.
Hushpuppies
slightly adapted from The Homesick Texan Cookbook
yield: ~16-20

oil, for frying
¾ c. yellow cornmeal
½ c. all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. kosher salt
1 large egg
½ c. whole milk or buttermilk
1 jalapeño chile, stemmed, seeded & finely diced I used 1 jalapeño en escabeche
¼ medium yellow onion, diced fine

In large pot or Dutch oven, heat about an inch of oil until it's ~300° F.  Again, I just guess at this...rippling oil, etc.  Make the batter while the oil is heating up.  Mix together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Add the egg and milk.  Stir in the diced jalapeño and onions. I wound up using some a pickled jalapeño since we were out of fresh.  It was a great substitution, if I do say so myself.  And I do.

To fry the hushpuppies, place tablespoon-size balls of batter into the hot oil and fry until crisp and golden brown, ~2 minutes.  I use my trusty scoop to scoop and drop the batter directly into the oil.  The same scoop I use for making cookies.  Drain on paper towels.
Fried Catfish
also slightly adapted from The Homesick Texan Cookbook
yield: 4 servings (I double-and-a-halved it and it worked well)

1 lb. catfish fillets, cut into 1-2" wide chunks
kosher salt
 black pepper
2 large eggs
½ c. whole milk buttermilk
1 c. yellow cornmeal
¼ tsp. cayenne
vegetable oil, for frying

Salt and pepper the catfish fillets well.  I mean, season them until you think you've seasoned them enough, then season them a little more.  In my opinion.  This is your only seasoning.  Beat eggs and buttermilk together in a bowl.  Mix together the cornmeal and cayenne on a plate.

Heat ~2" oil until it reaches 300° F.  I just fried the hushpuppies first, then fried the fish in the same oil.  Go fish second so your hushpuppies don't taste like fish!  

Dip fillets in egg-milk mixture and then dredge in the cornmeal, covering both sides.  Place fish into hot oil and cook ~4 minutes, turning once if needed.  Drain on a paper towel-lined sheet tray.  Fry in batches if necessary.

I served this with hushpuppies and a chipotle mayonnaise sauce for dipping.  So.  Good.
*This post is part of The Homesick Texan Cookbook Spotlight and Cook-Off sponsored by Hyperion and hosted (right here!) at girlichef*

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