Once you try cornmeal-crusted fried fish there's no going back to flour-dusted fillets. The cast-iron skillet is the perfect utensil because it maintains an even temperature during the frying process. Serve with coleslaw and corn bread or hush puppies.
- Canola oil, for frying
- 4 catfish fillets (may substitute other thin white fish, such as cod or flounder)
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup buttermilk
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Cajun seasonings or lemon pepper
Pour enough oil into a cast-iron skillet to reach a depth of 1/4 inch. Place over medium heat. Have ready a plate lined with paper towels or a brown paper sack.
Pat the fish dry and cut into strips about 1 inch thick.
In a shallow bowl, combine the cornmeal and flour.
Pour the buttermilk into a shallow bowl.
Place the fish on wax paper and season both sides with salt and pepper to taste, and your seasoning of choice. Working with 1 piece of fish at a time, dip it first into the buttermilk, allowing any excess to drip off, then dredge it in the cornmeal-flour mixture, turning to coat both sides. Repeat with the remaining fish. Carefully add several pieces of fish to the oil, being careful not to crowd the skillet. Arrange the fish in the skillet and cook until golden brown on the bottom; turn and cook on the other side. Transfer to the plate to drain. Repeat with the remaining fish. Serve hot.
From a recipe by Frances Porter, as found in "A Skillet Full of Traditional Lodge Cast Iron Recipes & Memories," compiled by the South Pittsburg Historic Preservation Society, Inc. (Lodge Manufacturing Company, 2003).
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