Easy Fried Catfish

Easy Fried Catfish

I love fried fish. I don’t make it at home that often. It is more of a treat around here than an every day meal. After making this catfish, I decided I might want to fry fish more often.

This time of year, Friday night fish fries are very popular. I love them. But, you don’t have to go out to have great fish at home. I’ve been on a catfish kick lately, so I decided to make fried catfish.

I toyed with the idea of baking it, but frying won out. Nothing quite as good as fried catfish in my mind.

This is going to be one of those recipes that is more narrative that exact amounts. I really am good about writing stuff out. I just can’t seem to locate my notes for this one- so I’ll share what I did as best I can remember. It is also so easy to fry fish. Don’t be scared to try. Fresh fried fish is such a treat.

I started with catfish fillets that were cut down into smaller pieces. The smaller size made them fast and easy to cook. It also made them fun to eat. Like chicken nuggets, only made with catfish.

I made a mixture of eggs, a little buttermilk, salt, pepper, garlic powder, parsley and hot sauce. I dipped the fish in this mixture and let it soak in there while I got the breadcrumbs ready. I had some bread crumbs made from plain bread, so I added a little paprika, dry parsley flakes and lemon peel to the crumbs.

I took the fish out of the egg wash a few pieces at a time and dropped them in the bread crumbs. I had the crumbs in a good sized bowl- but only filled about a quarter of the way with crumbs. I added the fish and sort of tossed it in the crumbs by shaking and tossing the bowl. Placed fish on a baking sheet. Once the fish were all coated in bread crumbs, I put the oil on to heat up.

I was using an electric pot with a thermometer so I knew when the oil reached 350. I wanted to fry the fish between 350 and 375 degrees. If you don’t have a pot with a thermometer you can tell if your oil has reached 350 degrees with the use of popcorn. Yes, popcorn. Just put in a kernel of popcorn when you start heating up the oil. Popcorn pops at 350 degrees. When the popcorn pops, you know the oil is ready.

I had a pan, lined with paper towels ready as I started to drop the pieces of fish, several at a time, into the hot oil. They were cooked in just a few minutes. I pulled them when they were golden brown. Allowed them to drain on paper towels, in a warm oven, while I cooked the rest of the fish.

I served the fish with lemon wedges and homemade tartar sauce- which is just sweet pickle relish and mayo. I sometimes add capers and a little mustard, too.

The fish was a big hit.

As to the oil. You’ll have plenty left over. I let it cool and strained it out. Then I poured it in the bottle it came from. You can save it for your next frying project, but don’t use it again and again. Just a few times, then toss the rest. The flavor gets funky after a while.