Monday, December 10, 2012

Oven "Fried" Catfish

This is a stock photo (so handy working in advertising!),
but it is close enough to showing the succulence
of Oven Fried Catfish.
Rose, living in L.A. since last January, called and wistfully said, "I know what I want for Christmas."

I waited expectantly and was surprised when she said, "Catfish."

"Oh, I mean what I want for meals when I come home." she said. "Catfish fried in the oven."

"Mmmm, sounds good. Potato salad or mashed potatoes with that?"

"Ooooo." Her voice got more excited. "Potato salad! And maybe, well, is cabbage a cold weather vegetable?"

"Why do you think the Germans and Russians have so many cabbage dishes?" I asked. "Cold weather is what cabbage is all about."

"Then coleslaw too! And potato rolls?"

"I have extra in the freezer from Thanksgiving that I'm saving until you come home. So we're on our way!"

Sounds good, doesn't it? I just realized that I never put the recipe here. If you're not making some variation of this then you need to give this a try because it is simple, quick, and delicious. As we can tell from the fact that kids coming home ask for it.

I got it from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything. He calls it Oven "Fried" Fish but I never make it with anything but catfish.

Oven "Fried" Catfish

1-1/2 pounds catfish filets
1-1/2 cups milk, buttermilk or yogurt (I use milk)
Bread crumbs for dredging (dried, fresh, whichever you wish)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper (I'll often use other seasoning)
3 tablespoons melted butter or virgin olive oil (I use olive oil)

Soak the filets in the milk while you preheat the oven to 450°.  Put the bread crumbs on a plate and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

When the oven is ready, pull the fish from the milk and let it drain a bit. Dredge wet fish in breadcrumbs, patting to make sure the crumbs adhere if needed. Drizzle a little of the butter or oil over a 9x13 baking pan or rimmed baking sheet, then lay the filets in the pan. Drizzle with remaining butter or oil.

Bake near the top of the oven for 8 to 15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish. The fish will be crisp on the outside and tender and opaque when done. Serve immediately with lemon or other condiments as desired.