Fried Breaded Catfish

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. This time of year, Friday night fish fries are very popular. I love them. You don’t have to go out to have great fried fish.

I toyed with the idea of baking it, but frying won out. Nothing quite as good as fried catfish in my mind. Had a few friends over and I knew they would like it. too.

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.

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.

Since they had been frozen, I thawed them out, and dried them off a bit by patting them with paper towels. I started with a 2 pound bag of catfish. I seasoned a little over 1/2 a cup of flour with salt, pepper and paprika. Then I placed the flour in a bag and tossed in the fish pieces.

I made a mixture of 2 eggs, a little mayo, salt, pepper, garlic powder and a small amount of smoked paprika. I dipped the fish in this mixture and let it soak in there while I put the breadcrumbs in a bowl.

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 started with a cup of bread crumbs, but needed more. I added the fish and sort of tossed it in the crumbs by shaking and tossing the bowl. Made sure the fish all got coated. Pressed the crumbs a few times to make sure the breading stuck. Placed fish in a square container and kept adding it as I finished breaded the fish. Covered the dish and placed it in the fridge. I fried the catfish the next day. I could have fried it right away, but I knew I would be getting home from work just before my guests would be arriving. I wanted to get this part of the job out of the way. Sometimes breading sticks better if you do it a little ahead of time.

Once it was time for dinner, 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, mayo and capers.

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 couple of times, then toss the rest. There were 4 of us for dinner and there was fish leftover. The 2 pounds of fish was easilyenough to serve 6-8.

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