Pan-Fried Catfish Fingers with Lemony Tartar Sauce and Hushpuppies
- 1 1/2 pounds catfish fillets, cut on the diagonal into 1-inch strips
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 2 tablespoons Creole mustard
- 1 tablespoon Essence, recipe follows
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons red hot sauce
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- 1 cup flour
- 2/3 cup cornmeal
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 recipe Lemony Tartar Sauce, for serving, recipe follows
- 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 2 tablespoons garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 2 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped cornichons
- 1 tablespoon minced drained capers
- 2 teaspoons freshly minced green onions
- 1 teaspoon freshly minced parsley leaves
- 1 teaspoon freshly chopped chives
- 1 teaspoon freshly minced tarragon leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon Creole or Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- Freshly ground white pepper
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- 1 cup yellow cornmeal
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 1/4 teaspoons Essence
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 large onion, grated
- 1/2 cup finely chopped green onions
- 2 jalapenos, seeded and minced
1 recipe Hushpuppies, for serving, recipe follows
Place the catfish in a non-reactive bowl. In a second bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, mustard, Essence, garlic and hot sauce and pour over the fish. Stir to thoroughly coat, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour. Prepare the Lemony Tartar Sauce while the fish is marinating.
Preheat 3/4-inch of oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy cast iron skillet to a temperature of 350 degrees F.
Remove the fish from the refrigerator. Combine the flour, cornmeal, and salt in a re-sealable plastic food storage bag and shake to blend. Using a fork, remove the fish fingers, a few pieces at a time, from the marinade, allowing excess marinade to fall from the fish. Transfer the fish to the flour-cornmeal mixture and toss to coat. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining fish.
Fry the fish, in batches if necessary, turning to promote even browning, until golden brown, crispy, and cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper-lined plate to rest briefly before serving hot with the Lemony Tartar Sauce and Hushpuppies.
Emeril's ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast):Emeril's ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast):
Combine all ingredients thoroughly.
Yield: 2/3 cup
Recipe from "New New Orleans Cooking", by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch
Published by William Morrow, 1993.
Lemony Tartar Sauce:
In a non-reactive mixing bowl combine the mayonnaise, cornichons, capers, green onions, parsley, chives, tarragon, mustard and lemon zest and stir to thoroughly combine. Add the lemon juice and stir to blend. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate in a non-reactive bowl, covered, until ready to use.
Yield: about 1 1/2 cups
Preheat a deep-fryer fill with oil to about 3/4 of the way full to a temperature of 375 degrees F.
While the oil is heating, combine the cornmeal, flour, sugar, salt, Essence, baking powder, baking soda and black pepper in a mixing bowl and whisk to combine. In a second mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, grated onion, green onions and jalapenos. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir just until a batter comes together. Be careful not to overmix.
When the oil is hot, drop 1 1/2 tablespoons of the batter into the hot oil and fry, turning occasionally, until golden brown on all sides and cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove using a slotted spoon and let rest on a paper lined plate briefly before serving hot. Repeat with remaining batter.
Yield: About 2 1/2 dozen hushpuppies
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