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    Southern-Fried Catfish

    Source of Recipe

    From "A Love Affair with Southern Cooking" by Jean Anderson

    List of Ingredients

    • Four 6-ounce (U.S. Farm-Raised) catfish fillets
    • 1 cup buttermilk
    • cup unsifted self-rising flour
    • cup unsifted stone-ground yellow cornmeal
    • tsp salt
    • ⅛ tsp black pepper
    • ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper
    • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
    • 2 Tbsp bacon drippings


    1. Arrange the catfish fillets one layer deep in a large, shallow nonreactive baking pan. Pour the buttermilk evenly over the catfish, cover, and refrigerate for several hours, turning the catfish in the buttermilk at half-time.

    2. When ready to proceed, combine the flour, cornmeal, salt, black pepper, and cayenne in a pie plate. Lift the catfish fillets from the buttermilk, shaking off the excess, then dredge well on both sides in the flour mixture. Again, shake off the excess.

    3. Heat 1 tablespoon each oil and bacon drippings in a heavy 12-inch skillet over moderately high heat for about a minute or until ripples begin to appear on the skillet bottom. Ease in the catfish and fry 4 to 5 minutes on each side or until golden brown, adding the remaining oil and bacon drippings when you turn the fillets. Drain the browned catfish on paper toweling, then serve hot with Hush Puppies and Sweet Slaw.

      Makes 4 servings.

      Hush Puppies:

      Vegetable oil, for deep-fat frying
      2 cups sifted stone-ground cornmeal
      1 Tbsp sugar
      1 tsp salt
      1 tsp baking soda
      tsp baking powder
      1 cups buttermilk
      cup finely grated yellow onion
      1 large egg

      Pour 2 inches of oil into a deep skillet, insert a deep-fat thermometer, and set over moderate heat.

      Meanwhile, combine the cornmeal, sugar, salt, baking soda, and baking powder in a large bowl, pressing out all lumps and making a well in the middle of the dry ingredients.

      Whisk the buttermilk, onion, and egg together in a small bowl, then pour into the well in the dry ingredients and stir briskly to mix.

      When the oil in the skillet has reached 375F, scoop the hush puppy batter up by rounded teaspoonfuls and ease into the oil. Fry, no more than 6 to 8 at a time, for 2-1/2 minutes, turning as needed, until richly browned on all sides. (Keeping the temperature of the oil as close as possible to 375 is key, so adjust the burner heat as needed. If the oil is too cool, the hush puppies will be greasy; if it is too hot, they will burn before they are done inside.)

      As the hush puppies brown, lift to paper toweling with a slotted spoon. Also skim any bits from the oil and continue frying the hush puppies until they are all done. Serve hot with fried fish or shellfish, fried chicken, or pork barbecue.

      Makes 3 to 3 dozen.

      Sweet Slaw:

      8 cups moderately finely grated cabbage (from a 2-pound cabbage)
      cup firmly packed mayonnaise
      cup cider vinegar
      2 Tbsp sugar
      tsp salt, or to taste

      Place the cabbage in a large nonreactive bowl. Quickly whisk together all remaining ingredients, pour over the cabbage, and mix well. At first, you may think that there isn't enough dressing. This is because the cabbage will release a fair amount of liquid.

      Let the slaw stand at room temperature for 30 minutes, mix well, then cover and refrigerate for several hours.

      Stir the slaw well, taste for salt, and adjust as needed, then serve as an accompaniment to fried chicken, fried fish or shellfish, or any kind of barbecue.

      Makes 6 to 8 servings.




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