Fried Catfish: Menus and Recipes For A Louisiana Saturday Night!
The Fish Fry Supper Basics
Northern Louisiana is Not Cajun Country .Culture and Cuisine Are Noticeably Different!
copyright by Jackie D. Kimball
Ole Hank Williams sings.....
Well jambalaya n a crawfish pie n filet gumbo .
Son of a gun were gonna have great fun on the bayou!
To those not familiar with Louisiana culture, the mention of Louisiana usually conjures images of New Orleans, the French Quarters, and cuisine abundant with seafood ingredients,complimented by filet gumbo and jambalaya. Songs about Louisiana that mention food almost always praise the crawfish and seafood used in Creole and Cajun cooking. Contrary to what most tourists believe, Northern Louisianians are in many ways quite different from our Cajun and Creole folk in the southern part of our state. In fact, when we were kids,my New Orleans cousins used to tell me that our part of the state is "Yaw lak a differin wold upheah". (Translation in Northern Louisiana dialect- "Y'all shore are a different world up here.")
Louisiana Saturday Nights
Louisiana Saturday Nights is a well known phrase, thanks in part to the song Louisiana Saturday Nights by Bob McDill. Don Williams recorded the song in 1977, followed by such elite as Alabama ,Mel McDaniel,Keith Urban, and others including the cutest little four year old fellow on youtube named Andrew!.
We in Louisiana are fiercely devoted to our families, and love to have big suppers on the weekends with family and friends.Looking forward to our kinfolk and friends "get togethers" on the weekend is who we are.
While a Louisiana Saturday night in Southern Louisiana might be seafood, gumbo, crawfish , and dancing to zydeco music, the northern Louisiana Saturday night social life is quite different. I'm not talking about those that do what we call bar hopping and drug sniffing. I'm talking about our typical family and friends get together events. With all Louisianaians it's all about the food!
The northern and southern regions of Louisiana are remarkedly different in both culture and cuisine. True ,the 1700s saw settlers arrive from France, Germany, and the Acadians from Canada.This group mostly settled in Southern Louisiana. Of course,Native Americans lived in the area indigenously.From these people came your typical creole and cajun fare and cultures. I highlighted the word Creole to direct you a hubber that has already written an excellent hub on Creole culture and cuisine.(But don't leave yet!)
Traditional foods common to north Louisiana are more like those of other southern states, After the United States purchased Louisiana in 1803,most of the groups that came to Northern Louisiana were Scotch,Irish, and Anglo Saxons. Many of these came from other southern states,and their cooking reflected this.As their cultures intermingled , so did their cuisine.
Thus in Northern Louisiana, a Louisiana Saturday night supper is more likely to be a barbeque or a fish fry, although we are quite fond of crawfish and seafood also. Not living on the coast, a seafood supper is very expensive .Fish is plentiful and free for the catching..
In fact Northern Louisiana is well known for its catfish industry, with the town of Winnsboro,Louisiana having an annual Catfish festival that grows larger each year.
Fried catfish strips
Corn on the cob
Fried green tomatoes
Buttermilk pie and Ice cold watermelon
DEEP FRIED CATFISH STRIPS
A typical serving of fried catfish strips is five to six pieces. Cut each filet into strips about 1 1/2 inches wide. Some like their strips wider than this, but if you like crispy fish, try this width. Strips should be three to five inches in lenghth.
Dip strips into seasoned self rising yellow cornmeal mix. Season the meal to your taste, just as you would your for favorite fried chicken flour batter mix. I use salt, pepper, and Mrs. Dash. There are commercial fish fry meal mixes you can buy at most super markets as well. [ Reserve some of this mix for your tomatoes and hush puppies.]
1.Dip all strips in the meal mix, cover with a paper towel and set aside for ten minutes.
2.Using your deep fryer or a boiler, pour in five or six inches of peanut oil (best) or canola oil . Place a match in the oil and heat until the match ignites.Your oil is now hot enough for frying.
3.Drop strips in hot oil with no crowding.(It depends on the size of your fryer.)Fry until dark golden brown.
4.Drain fish and place on paper towels with no crowding.
1. Drop salted cut fries In hot oil and fry until golden brown.Drain and place on paper towels. You can't get any easier than that, y'all.
PAN FRIED GREEN TOMATOES
To the right of this hub , you will find excellent hubs for making fried green tomatoes, but here is how we cook them in our neck of the woods.
1.Wash cold firm green tomatoes, and slice into slices about 1/5 to 1/4 inch thick. Thinner slices are crispier.(Some cooks soak their slices in salted ice water for thirty minutes first,then pat dry and dip the tomatoes.)
2. Use the same mix recipe as you do for your fish meal adding about 3 tablespoons of self rising flour per cup of the meal mix. Do not use the mix that fish has been dipped in , but rather use some mix that you have reserved.
3.Dip the tomato slices in the meal mix , tap off the excess meal, and pan fry in canola oil on medium heat until golden brown.
4. Remove one at a time and place on paper towels with no crowding.
BOILED CORN ON THE COB
1. Wash and cut sweet corn in half
2. Drop the corn into a large pot of boiling salted water,making sure that there is sufficient water to avoid crowding.
3. Boil 8 to 10 minutes and turn off the heat.
4. Just before serving ,drain off most of the liquid and add a stick of melted butter.(Another favorite method is to wrap each piece of boiled corn in foil, placing a pat of butter on the cob before enclosing the corn in the foil.These may be kept in a warm oven for a short while.)
Time to confess- I BUY my hush puppies in the frozen food section of my local grocery store. I do know how to make them, but I'm usually TIRED by now!
1. I glass of sweet tea
2. 1 grocery list
3. Write down "get frozen hush puppies".
4. Drink tea , and finish grocery list!
HUSH PUPPIES - From the Plains Plain Cooker Circa 1975 (The front page with other information is missing, but I remember the year I bought it.) With my adaptation of adding green onions instead of minced and corn.
Here we go again.....the mix.....(Rinse and repeat...)
1. Use 1 1/2 cups of the reserved fish fry mix recipe
2. One beaten egg
3. 2 or 3 tablespoons of finely chopped green onions
4. 2 tablespoons of cream stlye canned corn
5. Mix all of the above together. Add just enogh buttermilk if needed to make slightly firm balls of dough. Shape the balls to about the size of a large walnut, place on wax paper, cover, and chill for at least thirty minutes.
6.Drop the hush puppies into a deep fryer or boiler of hot canola or peanut oil. ( You may elect to do this in the hot fish fry oil after you have fried the fish, as we do. )They will sink, and float to the top when done.
7.Deep fry until a dark golden brown, testing the center with a toothpick for doneness. drain and place on paper towels with no crowding.
CHILLED BUTTERMILK PIE
1.Beat two egg yolks
2. Add one cup of buttermilk, one cup of sugar, and one tablespoon of melted butter. Mix well.
3. In a cup or small bowl, whisk one tablespoon of flour with two tablespoons of whole milk. Add to the mixture .
4.Add 1 1/2 of lemon extract to the mixture and mix well. Pour into your favorite pie shell and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.
Louisiana Saturday Night
Young and Old Like Dancing to Louisiana Saturday Night!
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