If you have been around this blog before, you may be aware that I am a woman who loves bacon. I am a Texan, and we fry. Therefore, I prefer my food fried in bacon grease. I mean to tell you that even Brussel sprouts are palatable wrapped in bacon and deep fat fried.
But, I realize that I am getting older and should be eating a more healthy diet. I’ve never eaten much fish. Now, every magazine I pick up tells me I should be eating fish for its health benefits. The Omega-3 oils in fish protect the immune system and play a role in protecting the body from arthritis, inflammation, heart disease, depression, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and I forget what else.
The only fish (that wasn’t in a can) that I consumed as a child was crappie (pronounced as krŏp’ē, if you are unfamiliar with it). We were always excited when Daddy said “the crappie are running,” because that meant he was going fishing and there would be a fish fry! The fish was cut into filets, rolled in cornmeal and deep-fat fried. It was served with heaping mounds of fried potatoes, fried hush puppies, and lots of ketchup. Occasionally, one had a teaspoonful of cole slaw on the plate, but we considered it a waste of stomach space. We never discovered a way to deep-fat fry cole slaw.
I’ve only eaten baked fish a handful of times in my life, and I try hard not to gag at the table, because my Momma taught me manners. The most notable time was when Mr. Ex and I had a fancy-schmancy meal at a hotel in Colorado. I ordered a baked trout, and I was as surprised as a puppy with his first porcupine when that waiter placed the plate in front of me. That fish was staring me right in the eye! I have no idea what expression might have come over my face, but evidently the waiter had seen it before. He pulled out his chopping knife, whacked that fish’s head plumb off, scooped it on a plate and carried it away.
It was too late. I no longer had an appetite.
All that being said, I don’t know what came over me yesterday in the Kroger Store. I got a wild hair to buy a package of catfish (it’s a little known fact that my brother-in-law, C.S. Tucker is an internationally renowned expert on catfish farming) and decided to “oven fry” them. OK, I admit that I would have fried them in a deep-fat fryer if I had one. But, I didn’t get custody of the deep-fat fryer in the divorce settlement, so there you go.[aside: Y’all do know the difference between a lawyer and a catfish, don’t you? One is a bottom-dwelling, scum-sucking scavenger. The other is a fish. Ba-dum-bum]
I went to the internet to find a recipe that might be acceptable. The first recipe for oven-fried catfish at Cooks.com indicated that the fish should be rolled in egg whites and then in crushed corn flakes. Ick! All I had in the cabinet were Frosted Flakes.
Tony the Tiger would not have thought that was “GRRRRRREAT!”
The second recipe called for rolling the fish in cornmeal, but didn’t want the egg whites. Corn meal sounded more like something a Texas girl would eat, and I had a package of Morrison’s Corn-Kits. But, cornmeal doesn’t stick very well, so I decided to mix the two recipes. My Mamaw taught me never to follow a recipe. It’s just supposed to point you in the right direction.
Here’s what I came up with:
About a pound of catfish filets, washed and patted dry
A package of Morrison’s Corn-Kits, or failing to find that, a cup of cornmeal
1 1/2 teaspoons of garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoons of crushed parsley
1 teaspoon of lemon pepper
2 egg whites mixed with about two tablespoons of water
A dab of butter (“dab,” in this case, means a little more than a tablespoon)
Whip up some tartar sauce, or grab the bottle of ketchup and you’re in business.
Mr. Tucker liked this recipe, and says I have his permission to cook it again (like he thinks I need permission or that he could stop me if I wanted to do something!). I even liked it, and pronounced it “bloggable.” It’s not as delicious as fried crappie, but it’s pretty dadgum tasty.
I might even decide to try other fish recipes. Do you have one that I might be able to stomach?