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What the fish?


Junior Varsity
5 Year Member
Holy cow, what am I gonna do with these fish? Today we learn how to win friends with fish. First order of business, the victims. If you are involved in capturing them, thump 'em on the head smartly and put 'em on ice. Some, like catfish, can last a long time on the stringer but for one size fits all, go with the thump and ice method. Clean them as soon as possible, if you're going to kill them, show them the basic courtesy of doing your best with the remains. Fresh is everything with fish. If you get them from somebody else, it's out of your hands, just soldier on.

We're going to fry these suckers and if you don't know how to filet fish, learn. If you buy fish, buy filets, no skin. Cut the filets up into chunks that look right for picking up with your fingers to eat. Put them in a bowl, pour a little milk in and turn the chunks so the milk gets on every surface. Put some corn meal with some salt and pepper in a paper bag.

Ideally, you have a cast iron pot. If not, you want something thick, deeper than it is wide. We're not sauteing, a frying pan won't do. Fill your fryer 2/3 with shortening or oil, peanut is probably best but not required. It has to stand up to the heat without breaking down. Crank the the heat and while the oil is getting hot, pull the fish out of the milk and pat it dry. Toss the chunks into the paper bag, four or five chunks at a time, close the top and shake. They will come out evenly coated, put them on a piece of newspaper next to your fryer. When the oil is hot, put in the fish. The oldtime test, you touch a kitchen match to the oil and if it lights, you're hot enough. Or shake a few drops of water from your finger into the oil. If it boils right off, you're there.

Drop some chunks into the oil, not too many, you want them to have plenty of room. They will sink. When they float to the top they're done. Pluck them out with tongs, put on a paper towel on a platter and send 'em to the table. You don't get to eat until all the fish is fried. This gets almost no oil into the fish. If you don't believe me, re-use the oil, which is a good idea anyway. I use a paper towel lining a sieve to strain out all the loose corn meal, etc. after the oil has cooled. Pour it back into the container it came out of and you will be amazed at how little is gone. I put out soy sauce, hot mustard and plum sauce for seasoning you can do whatever you want. Next time, a little more complicated but still pretty easy recipe, pan searing.