Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Making the Perfect Fried Catfish

 

So trust me, fried catfish was a frequent meal at our house…(as well as all sorts of “critters” that you can’t find in your local grocery store)

If we weren’t eating fried fish, we were instead munching down on some good Southern fried chicken and drinking sweet tea.

Although there is much debate as to how catfish should be prepared–such as using a batter, breading with cornmeal, or simply dipping it in flour….I have found that the best way to prepare perfect catfish is to fry it in a cornmeal crush.

So let’s learn the basics of making the perfect fried catfish.

 

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Ingredients

 

1-2# catfish—about.4-6 filets

1C milk or buttermilk

1C cornmeal…Use fine, white cornmeal if you can find it….if you can’t find it fin the store, use regular cornmeal with a little flourk added to it so that the crust doesn’t taste gritty.

1/2C flour

Seasoning…you can use whatever makes you smile and keeps you wanting more and more fish—such as Lawry’s to Zatarain’s, Old Bay or lemon pepper— but a good mixture would be…

  • 1tsp garlic powder
  • 1tsp pepper
  • 1tsp paprika
  • 1/2tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1Tbsp salt
    1tsp pepper
  • Cooking oil, preferably peanut oil

 

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Getting Ready 

Preheat oven to 200 degrees F.

Lay a wire rack sitting on a cookie sheet inside the oven.

Heat oil in a large pot or deep fryer to 350 degrees F.  Make sure that your oil is hot enough…if not you will end up with soggy, greasy catfish.

 

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Preparing the Catfish

Rinse the catfish fillets under cold water.

Dry thoroughly with paper towels.  

Soak catfish in milk or buttermilk for about an hour. This will wash away the muddy flavor.

 

 

 

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Breading the Cztfish

Combine cornmeal, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper.

Dredge each filet in the breading until it is coat evenly.

Place on a large platter to dry for about five minutes.

 

 

 

 

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Cooking the Catfish

Now add the breaded catfish to the hot oil. Be careful not to crowd the fryer…otherwise the the oil temperature will drop too much. The oil is ready whenever you drop a little of the dry breading mix into the oi, and if it sizzles at once.

Make sure that there is enough peanut oil to completely cover catfish fillets while frying.

Cook 7min per side…until golden brown.

Watch the temperature of the oil as you continue frying the filets. If the temperature gets too hot, you may need to lower the heat on the burner.

Keep cooked fillets warm in oven while you finish cooking the rest of the fish. This will help keep it crispy.

Place the cooked filets on paper towels to drain.

 

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Making the Perfect Cobbler

Other Ingredients

  • 3/4C sugar
  • 1-1/2C flour
  • 1-1/2tsp baking powder
  • 1-1/2C heavy cream
  • 1tsp vanilla
  • 1/2C butter, melted
  • 2Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp salt

 

 

 

 

 

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Making the Fruit Filling

Preheat oven to 350…(isn’t that what almost recipes tell you to preheat your oven to…just lately noticed this)…

Place a stick of butter into a 9×13 pan in the oven while the oven preheats….just make sure that you take the pan out so that the butter doesn’t burn.

Do whatever you need to do to get the fruit ready—such as wash, peel, stem, seed, slice, and so on.

You may need to cook some of the firmer foods—such as apples or peaches—before using them in your cobbler in order to bring out more of their juices. To do this, just stir together the fruit and a little bit of sugar in a pan. Cook on medium heat for just a few minutes, until the sugar dissolves.

Once you finish prepping the fruit, taste it to see if you need to add some sugar, spices (choose whatever you gut instinct tells you), or lemon juice.

If your fruit is juicy or you want your cobbler to be more firmly set, you may want to add some cornstarch.

Spread the fruit filling evenly into prepared pan. It should fill the dish three-quarters full…(almost like when Making the Perfect Muffins, right?!)

 

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Making the Topping

Mix together your dry ingredients—the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.

Cut in cold butter with a pastry cutter until pea-sized crumbs form.

Add the cream to the dry ingredients. Stir until just combined; the dough will be quite wet.

At this point, your topping should look like cookie dough.

Scoop the topping over the fruit mixture, using either a small ice cream scoop or a tablespoon.

Spread the topping out with a spoon or your fingers if you need to.

Sprinkle with coarse sugar or use an egg wash to give your cobber more sparkle and extra crunch.

 

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Baking the Cobbler

Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, until golden brown….(Just like with everything else that you  bake, stick a toothpick into the topping…if it comes out clean– it’s done.)

Once you have finished baking the cobber, set your oven on broil. Broil long enough to make it golden brown and slightly crunchy on top.

Serve warm with vanilla ice cream…(duh)…

Cover and store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to four days.

Baked cobbler can be kept frozen for up to three months. To serve, thaw overnight in the fridge. Warm in the oven before serving.

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Making the Perfect Hash Browns

potatoes fun knife fork
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Hash browns are standard breakfast fare, second only to grits in the back woods of Mississippi where I am from, and an ultimate comfort food.

So what are the “perfect” hash browns…and how do you make them at home?

The perfect hash browns will be perfectly and evenly golden-brown—extra crispy, crackly, and buttery on the outside…and creamy and fluffy on the inside.

Soaking Your Potatoes

  • Scrub your potatoes clean. Do not peel the potatoes.

 

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Dreading the Breading

So we’ll start our discussion on frying foods with breading.

Breading is a basic process that involves coating your food—such as fried chicken and onion rings—before frying it.  

This coating can consist of many different types of crumbs—such as rushed corn flakes, fine dried breadcrumbs, crushed cracker meal, and even potato chips…(more on this later)…

Breading differs from using a batter to prep your food.

 

Breading involves using basically dry ingredients whereas Battering your food involves combining flour of some sort with a liquid and perhaps other ingredients—such as eggs and baking powder.

Battering your food coat them in a thicker and more goopy layer.

Your goal whenever you are frying food is to create delicious food that has a crunchy and delicious exterior with a moist and flavorful interior.

Batters and breadings are important in this process because they both serve the same basic purpose—to help seal in moisture.

You do not want the oil to immediately come into direct contact with the food because you are more likely to end up with food that is either burned or leathery.

Instead you want to create a barrier between the hot oil and the raw food that will help the food cook more gently and evenly, instead of burning.or turning leathery.

Breading not only serves these purposes, but also helps reduce spatter, adds a very subtle crunch, and aids with browning.