Yield: 4 servings
Time: 30 minutes
For our Italian friends in Mantova, catfish, they call it Pesce Gatto, isn’t a great delicacy. The big ones in the river Po taste muddy and can be quite tough.
I find catfish in the US is delicious and doesn’t taste muddy at all. Mostly farmed in a controlled environment – it’s big business in the South – catfish has a delicate and firm flesh ideal for frying. Fried Catfish with Creamy Jalapeno-Cilantro Sauce, accompanied by Green Beans with Almonds and Goat Cheese is an exhilarating change to “fried catfish with French fries and hushpuppies”, the traditional way of serving catfish in the South, where most restaurants seem to fry everything.
- 4 catfish fillets, about 6 ounces each
- 1/2 cup (115 g) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup (115 g) cornmeal
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 1/2 cups (355 ml) buttermilk
- 2 cups (500 ml) vegetable oil
- 1 lemon, cut into slices
In a shallow dish, mix flour, cornmeal, paprika, cayenne, salt and, pepper. Set aside. Pour buttermilk into a separate dish. Set aside.
Pat catfish fillets dry with paper towels. Dip catfish in the buttermilk and let the excess liquid run off. Dredge catfish into the flour-cornmeal mix. Shake off the excess gently. Place coated catfish fillets on a plate and refrigerate for about 15 minutes to allow the coating to adhere. Heat vegetable oil in a frying pan large enough to hold catfish comfortably at one time over medium-high heat. Otherwise, fry fish in two batches. Cook for about 4 minutes on one side or until it begins to brown nicely. Flip on the other side and cook for 2 minutes more depending on the thickness of the fillets. Transfer cooked catfish to a paper-lined plate and keep it warm until ready.