Saturday, April 24, 2010
Smoky, Spicy Cornmeal-Crusted Catfish
Hello, kids! Long time, no blog, eh!? Wanna hear my excuse??? Well, I had a baby. Yes, that's right, I created a human life, with my body. And, yes, he's gorgeous and wonderful. But enough about me...let's get to the food...
I've been making this dish for some time now, using different flaky white-fleshed fish. Basa fillet, tilapia, etc. but this is the first time I've made it with catfish only because the tilapia at the nearby Key Food was due to expire tomorrow. Well, lo and behold, apparently I should have been making catfish the whole time I've been making this fish dish. I'm an idiot. So much time wasted. Life could have been so much more...very. It was the best I'd ever made. The fish was succulent, moist and delish. The crust crisp, smoky and savory...in a word: nommeh.
Here's what I do:
Beat one egg, add herbs and spices (I use garlic powder, salt (kosher or fleur de sel), pepper, cayenne, chipotle powder, paprika, thyme and chili powder.)
Then I mix in a deep plate, 1/2 cup cornmeal with the same herbs and spices, plus parsley flakes. I find that seasoning the egg and the dry batter layers the flavor, so it comes out extra-spicy and smoky, without having to use a lot of salt. Dip the fish in the egg first, then allow excess to drip off, then press in the dry batter mix, covering each side of the fish.
In my cast-iron skillet, I mix 1 tbsp light olive oil (not EVOO because it tends to burn/smoke even on medium heat - just keep a small bottle of Goya or another cheapo brand handy for frying) and 2-3 tbsp canola oil. Heat is on medium and panfry til golden and crisp, about 5-8 minutes on each side, depending on the thickness of the fish. Cornmeal is high in carbs so you don't need carbs alongside it, so I made a salad and some steamed spinach. Red Devil hot sauce is your friend. The tang works amazingly well with the spicy of the fish. Do your mouth a favor if you don't already keep that in your fridge.