Sunday, January 4, 2009

Fried Catfish

The key to good fried catfish (or any other type of fish) is to get fresh, thin-sliced fish. Another key is to use Zatarain's Seasoned Fish Fri (available at http://shop.zatarains.com/zatarains%C2%AE-seasoned-fishfri-p-1576.html). Finally, you should fry in peanut oil if possible.

The process is really simple.

First, use a cast iron dutch oven or other heavy pot. Put about 2 - 3 inches of peanut oil in the pot. On high heat, bring the oil up to about 375 degrees. If it is the right temperature, a little fish fri put in the pan will sizzle

Prepare the fish so that the fillets are thin - no thicker than 1/4 - 1/2 inch. Make sure that the fish is moist but not overly wet. Then dredge fish in fish fri. We usually do this by putting about 3 or 4 pieces in a tupperware container filled with fish fri. Shake the container. Place the fish in the oil - do not crowd. Let the fish brown to a light color (about 2 - 3 minutes at most) and turn to brown other side. The fish will float as it gets done. Do not overcook as this will cause the fish to be tough and rubbery.

We also fry shrimp the same way. Shrimp should be large 20 - 30 count per pound. Cooking times are shorter on shrimp so remove when light tan or brown.

Billy's Hushpuppies

I am posting a lot of recipes my dad made. But, they come to me in a batch of memories and I can't separate them. These hushpuppies were always a hit at any fish fry. My parents didn't need much of an excuse to invite 20 or so people over for fried fish, hushpuppies, and coleslaw. They loved people and loved to feed them. I guess it is genetic

1 cup yellow corn meal
1 cup flour
2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 can of creamed corn
1/3 cup milk (may need more depending on humidity)
1/2 medium onion grated
1/t tsp. Louisiana hot sauce (optional)

Mix corn meal, flour, baking powder, and sugar and make into a well. Add egg, creamed corn, milk, onion and hot sauce. You may need more or less milk. The mix needs to be thicker than pancake batter but not as thick as cookie dough batter)

Fry spoonfuls in hot oil - we always fry them before the fish so that they will stay clean.

Billy's Coleslaw

This coleslaw is so different from what you get at the supermarket and in restaurants. My dad always made this to eat with fried fish (bass, catfish, etc.) But, it is great with lots of things.

1 medium head of cabbage grated small -- use your box grater with largest holes
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp prepared horseradish
1/4 medium onion grated
1/2 cup sugar
1 - 2 tbs. of milk to make creamy depending on how loose you like your slaw
1/2 tsp. salt (less or more to taste)

Grate cabbage. in a large bowl, mix mayonnaise, horseradish, onion, sugar, salt, and milk to make a creamy dressing. Mix in grated cabbage and chill for an hour. Serve with fish, red beans, fried chicken, or any other good southern dish

Pumpkin Bread

My mother made this during the fall and winter. We used our jack-o-lantern from Halloween which was always boiled, drained, mashed, and stored in two-cup tupperware in the freezer. Canned pumpkin will work well but your own boiled pumpkin makes it taste best. This is really a great recipe -- the bread is moist and spicy. Great with a tall glass of milk.

3 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
2 cups pumpkin (canned or fresh)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg

Mix all dry ingredients together; in a separate bowl, mix oil and sugar - add eggs and mix - add pumpkin and mix; add all dry ingredients and mix well. Bake in two loaf pans (regular sized) or four mini-loaf sized pans at 350 degrees until done -- about one hour for large loaves or 4o minutes for small loaves. Be sure to spray pans with non-stick spray.