Time passes quickly. It has been over two years ago that I first furnished some ideas about delicious flat head catfish dishes. The "Great Pond Catfish" are still growing in our ponds in the boot heal but now they are two years older and are a whole lot heavier. So get a heavier line now and go after the world record flathead catfish of 123 pounds. In Missouri the record is 77 pounds 8 ounces. Better still, get a wire cable for your fishing line and set the record and cook the "Southern secret," that is popping up all over the country in some of today's most sophisticated cafes and eateries - including many of your own Kennett kitchens.
The catfish can be blackened, steamed, poached, braised or stewed, grilled or barbecued, broiled, stir-fried or even smoked. I ate some good blacken catfish this week (5/18/2011) at the Cajun restaurant on Highway going to Portageville, Arkansas. It has been some time since I ate some great smoked catfish near Iuka, Mississippi. But the great dishes are out there so go get them or follow on for my ideas.
You can make appetizers with catfish like pasta with catfish and artichokes. You even can make a soup or stews like catfish and shrimp soup. But you really want the main dishes of say Catfish Caribbean, Catfish Meunière, or even Catfish Aurora. If those ideas don't make you hungry, try Smoky Broiled Catfish, or Catfish with Mustard and Cream Sauce.
If you want to show off you can even make a catfish salad.
For the good Southern Missouri folks lets go for Pecan Catfish and the Classic Fried Catfish with Hush Puppies. What I like about preparing catfish is the texture and adaptability to various cooking methods. You can use catfish with a variety of ingredients combination to get you crew crying out that your dish is "out of sight."
To make Pecan Catfish, take: 2 tablespoons milk, 3 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 4 farm-raised Missouri catfish filets and 1 cup ground Missouri pecans.
In a small bowl, combine milk and Dijon mustard, Dip fillets into mustard mixture. Then dip into ground pecans, shaking off excess. Place on greased baking sheet. Oven fry at 500 degrees F for 10-12 minutes or until catfish flakes easily. Makes 4 servings. Easy enough?
Now, the Classic Fried Catfish, traditionally served with coleslaw and hush puppies.
Start with 3/4 cup yellow cornmeal. 1/4cup flour, 2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper,1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, and 4 farm-raised catfish filets or you can use the whole catfish. Use vegetable oil for frying.
Combine corn mal, flour, salt, cayenne pepper and garlic powder. Coat catfish with mixture, shaking off excess. Fill deep pot or12-inch skillet half full with vegetable oil.* Heat to 350 degrees F. Add catfish in single layer, and fry until golden brown, about 5-6 minutes, depending on size. Remove and drain on paper towels. Makes four servings.
Variation: For Crispy Classic Fried Catfish, combine 1/3 cup sour cream, 1/3 cup Dijon mustard and 3 tablespoons water in a separate shallow dish. (Prepare cornmeal mixture as above, omitting salt.) Dip catfish in sour cream mixture, then in cornmeal mixture. Follow frying procedure as above.*
*For lighter cuisine, pan fry in 1 table spoon vegetable oil in a non-stick pan or oven fry at 450 degrees F, drizzling catfish with 1 tablespoon vegetable oil.
To finish the meal be sure to have Hush Puppies. Take 1cup yellow cornmeal, 1/2 cup self-raising flour, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 egg, 1 medium onion, finely chopped and 1cup milk. Use vegetable oil.
Now, stir all ingredients, except oil, together. drop by table spoons into hot vegetable oil, about 370 degrees F until golden brown on all sides. Drain on paper towels.
Now if anyone knows where I can purchase some pickled green tomatoes slices to serve along with my catfish, let me know. I cannot find any to purchase anywhere. I did can some at the end of last year's tomato growing season.
Wisconsin does not eat their catfish, but who would?
The area catfish industry produces over 250 million pounds a year. About 90,000 acres of fresh-water ponds. That is a lot of acres producing fresh-water catfish.
So come to the Senior Center when they have their Thursday Catfish Day each month and Have a Happy.