Saturday, January 16, 2010
"Healthy" Southern Fried Catfish & Tarter Sauce, Oven Fries
Last week Greg and I took a little time off for some R & R that turned out to mean "Restlessness & Ruminating" for me, rather than "Rest & Recreation." Got the flu, and then took on a bundle of worries about a family member I love who is going through a very rough patch. Though I was grateful for a soft hotel bed in which to recover from the flu, and in which to toss and turn over my loved one's troubles, I was never so glad to be back in my own home as I was last night. When other things are unsettled, there is no place like home to deliver the comfort of sameness and familiarity. I felt better the minute we stepped into our Home Sweet Home.
Tonight, continuing with all things comforting, I was in the mood for a favorite southern comfort meal: cornmeal coated fried catfish, fries and coleslaw.Thankfully, I upsized the health of this traditional meal without sacrificing any of the taste. In fact, I have to say I think this was the best catfish dinner I've ever had anywhere, and it came from my own kitchen in minutes. So here's how I did it just in case the mood for a catfish dinner should strike you, too.
First of all, I drove through KFC and picked up their coleslaw, because I could live to be 100 and not make coleslaw as good as theirs, so I bow to the Colonel in this side dish category.
Secondly, a trip to Whole Foods, yielded me two large, gorgeous fresh boneless catfish fillets for about $10.00 (1/2 lb per person). I have found that our Whole Foods has the freshest, non-fishy-est tasting fish around and is more than worth the extra cost. I also grabbed a couple of organic russet potatoes and headed home to cook.
First I heated the oven to 425, then scrubbed and cut the potatoes, skin on, into steak fry sized pieces. Squiggled olive oil on a baking sheet and then sprinkled the oil with Coarse Sea Salt, rolling the pieces of potato in this mixture then popping the whole thing into the oven while I turned my attention to the catfish.
In a large skillet I heated about 1/4 c. coconut oil. I've come to love this healthy oil for its wonderful light flavor when frying foods. Then I lightly rinsed the fillets in water, patting off excess water. In a shallow bowl I put about 1 c. of organic corn meal, 2 t. citrus seasoning and 1 t. paprika. (You can also use Cajun seasoning or whatever suits you!) Then I dipped the fillets in the cornmeal and "fried" them in the small amount of coconut oil until they were golden and crispy on the outside, tender and flaky on the inside. Let them drain on paper towels.
Now is a good time to check fries and turn them so the other side gets brown.
Here's a delicious and healthier version of tarter sauce to serve with the catfish:
3 T. light mayo
2 T. light Ranch dressing
2 T. Greek yogurt
1 t. dried dill or 1 T. fresh dill minced
1 T. fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 T. pickle relish
1 T. minced capers
1 T minced onion if you like (Greg doesn't so I left out!)
Fries should be ready about now.
Serve catfish with a wedge of lemon and tarter sauce alongside oven fries with a little catsup (I like a few shakes of Tabasco on the catsup) and some coleslaw from KFC. An alternative to coleslaw might be a fresh cucumber and tomato salad, lightly marinated with a little rice wine vinegar and ice water (equal amounts),then salt and sugar to taste.