I realize I am a bit late with this topic, as the season of Friday fish fries has come and gone. But, it’s always a good time for a fish fry, so I decided to share my recipe with you anyway, especially since those who partook of the fish said it was the best they had ever had. And that came from my family, who has been well-trained to shoot straight with me, especially on topics of culinary creations.
There are certainly a few challenges when it comes to a fish fry. The first challenge is obviously the mess of it all, especially splattering. But fear not, if you have a grill and a large cast iron skillet you are in luck. The second challenge is the type of fish. If you are a person who loves to fish, crappie, bluegill or catfish are local choices. Store-bought could be cod, but Liz feels that fish has a bit of a “soapy, metallic taste to it.” Tilapia is also popular, but we’ve read some negative things about the way it is farmed so we passed on that.
Since it was the last fish fry of the Lenten season, I decided to run over to Whole Foods in Louisville and see what they had on hand. My favorite fish for frying is walleye, which they had, but the filets were too thin and they still had their skin attached, along with some bones. I told the young lady behind the counter what I was doing and she immediately told me to try the “blue catfish” which was caught in the wild as opposed to farmed. It is also the largest North American catfish, reaching a weight of 150 lbs. I was hesitant because Liz also isn’t a fan of catfish, but the young lady assured me it’s a flakier and more mild catfish than what we are used to. While I was hoping for walleye I came home with catfish. And frankly, it was awesome! We fried up 2½ lbs.
1½ cups cornmeal
1½ cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup of your favorite Cajun rub
Liquid for dredging
3 eggs, whipped
2 cups of buttermilk
The oil we used for frying was Canola. We filled our cast iron with oil until the oil was about ¾ of an inch deep. We put the cast iron on our grill and heated the oil to 360 degrees. We used a candy thermometer to verify.
In one shallow bowl we placed the dredging flour mixture, in a second shallow bowl we placed the liquid, and in a third bowl we placed a couple cups of flour. The fish was cut into serving-sized pieces. The fish was flipped in the flour, then flipped in the liquid, then flipped in the dredging flour. Excess dredging flour was lightly shaken off and the fish was gently laid into the hot oil. Lay it away from you so you don’t splash yourself with hot oil. After three to four minutes, gently turn the fish. Fry for another two to three minutes and then place on a plate with a paper towel.
Serve with your favorite slaw, tartar sauce or horseradish sauce. We also cooked up some collard greens to go along with the fish. The end result was crispy, a bit spicy and not oily at all.