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Authentic Fried Catfish

Another Delicious Southern staple made easy
By John Bäck
Published: March 24, 2011
Photo by John & Tanya Bäck

This marinade will work for any “fishy flavored” fillets. I’ve used it on Spanish mackerel, lake trout and some saltwater fish with good results. Serves 4-6.

6-8 catfish fillets, (skinless & boneless, about 6-8 ounces a piece)

1 quart of peanut oil

1½ cups of yellow corn meal

1½ cups of all-purpose flour

¼ cup of Cajun seasoning

2 cups of buttermilk

½ cup of minced parsley

½ cup of coconut milk

4 minced garlic cloves
Juice of 1½ fresh lemons

1 jalapeño pepper

2 cups of whole milk
Dash of sea salt

➊  Make the marinade: Mix the parsley, coconut milk, garlic, lemon juice, jalapeño pepper and whole milk in a food processor or blender until smooth. Place fillets in a large plastic zipper-top bag with marinade; making sure the marinade covers all. Double bag if need be. Marinate for 45 minutes.

➋  While waiting for the fillets to marinate, preheat an electric (or gas) deep fryer to a temperature of 350 degrees – making sure the temperature stays constant. You may also use a cast-iron Dutch oven if you don’t have a deep fryer on hand.

➌  Mix the flour and corn meal together in a shallow dish. Pour the buttermilk into another bowl or shallow dish.

➍  Remove fillets from marinade and pat dry. Dust both sides with your favorite cajun spice blend & a dash of sea salt. (For a spicier version also dust with cayenne pepper.)

➎  Dip both sides of fillet in the buttermilk making sure to remove any excess. Then dredge fillets in flour and corn meal mixture, making sure to cover EVERY piece of the fillet. Set aside.

➏  Check the temp on your deep fryer and then begin slowly adding fillets two at a time, making sure not to over-load the fryer. (2 or 3 fillets are usually plenty for most fryers.)

➐  Fry fillets until crispy brown – about 5 to 7 minutes.

➑  Remove fillets and place them on a cooling rack.

➒  Serve immediately.
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