Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Fried Catfish

I made fried catfish last night without a recipe. I seasoned some flour with paprika, garlic powder, cayenne pepper and a few other odds and ends and that was the hard part of the effort. I used catfish nuggets - they're cheap and since they come in small pieces, are conducive to frying because they can be arranged easily in the oil. The steps were simple.
  1. Dredge catfish nugget in seasoned flour.
  2. Wash the nugget in beaten egg.
  3. Coat the nugget in panko bread crumbs.
  4. Fry in about 1" of corn oil, heated to ~350 degrees, approximately 3 minutes on a side.
The trick that made them come out so well was to bread them all ahead of time so they went into the hot oil as a group rather than individually. 

In the past, I had my breading setup next to the pan and did one at a time, dropping it in the oil when it was done. That meant the cooking time for the nuggets (or the chicken pieces) varied wildly. Some were in for quite a while and some just a short time since I would lose track of which ones went in first. I generally took all of the pieces out at the same time, so some would be overcooked and some underdone. That's bad with catfish and terrible with chicken. No one wants to bite into underdone chicken.

The other advantage of pre-breading was that I could do it in a large space instead of the cramped quarters next to the stove. Once done, I had a plate with layers of breaded catfish separated with sheets of wax paper, waiting to be dropped into the oil. It also gave me time to do the dishes and clean the counter so the post-meal festivities didn't include facing a kitchen that looked like a fish fry bomb had gone off in it.

All in all, a delicious, relaxing meal. Yay!


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