Yield: 6 servings
Rice bran oil for frying the fish (or any high heat oil)
6 (7 to 9-ounce) US farm-raised catfish fillets
2 cups buttermilk
1 recipe fish fry mix (recipe below)
Heat the rice bran oil in a 5-quart Dutch oven over high heat until it reaches 350 degrees F on a deep-fat thermometer.
While the oil is heating, cut each catfish fillet crosswise, at an angle, into 2 to 3 pieces. Pour the buttermilk into a shallow dish (like a glass pie plate) and the fish fry mix into a separate shallow dish.
Working with 5 or 6 catfish pieces at a time dip the pieces into the buttermilk and coat well on both sides, allowing the excess to drip off. Dip the pieces into the fish fry mixture, coating them well on both sides. Add the coated fish pieces to the hot oil carefully and fry them until golden and cooked through about 2 to 3 minutes.
Transfer the fillets to a rack set over a sheet pan lined with paper towels and continue coating and cooking the remaining fish in the same fashion.
Fish Fry Coating Mix
1 cup stone-ground fine cornmeal
1 cup all purpose flour
1 to 2 tablespoons creole spice mix, either store bought or Sara’s Creole Spice Mix
In a pie plate combine all the ingredients well.
Sara’s Creole Spice Mix
Makes 6 tablespoons
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon hot paprika
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 ½ teaspoons onion powder
1 ½ teaspoons cayenne
1 ½ teaspoons oregano
1 ½ teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
In a small bowl combine all the ingredients well.
Eric’s Tartar Sauce
Makes 1 1/3 cups
1 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
3 tablespoons minced red onion
1 teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and stir well.