Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and gathered fish of every kind.Matthew 13:47
My very first job was at Runway Fishhouse in Baldwin, Ga. I learned many important lessons about being a good employee, but the most important thing I walked away with was a love of catfish! Back then, my favorite thing to do was eat the tails that had fallen off in the warms trays where the fish was placed after it was fried. Talk about heaven on Earth! The perfect mix of salt and crunch. I dare to say a better perfect bite doesn’t exsist.
A few Fridays ago, I decided to try a little take on my beloved catfish that was a little easier to eat, and with a little more spice. Instead of a whole fish, I did fillets. And as a replacement to the usual cheese grits, slaw, and hush puppies, I went with a black eye pea relish, and corn on the cob. Sometimes in life you just need a reason to revisit something that brings you joy!
- 6 catfish fillets
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
- 1/2 cup AP flour
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. black pepper
- 1 tsp. dried thyme
- 1 tsp. smoked paprika
- 1/4 tsp. celery seeds
- 2 tsp. salt, divided
Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Pour enough oil I to a cast iron skillet to come 1/2 inch up the sides. Heat oil over medium-high heat.
While oil is heating, soak catfish in buttermilk for about 5 mins. Place a wire rack on a baking sheet and place in oven.
Combine cornmeal, flour, spices, and 1 tsp. of salt in a shallow dish (I use a pie plate).
Once fish has soaked in the buttermilk, dredge in flour mixture, being sure to shake off any extra coating. Fry fish in batches (I did 3 batches of 2 fillets) until golden brown. This was about 4 mins. on each side. Placed fried fillets on the wire rack and keep warm while frying the remaining fillets. Sprinkle the fillets with the remaining tsp. of salt before placing in the oven to warm. I promise you don’t want to skip this step!!
Black-Eyed Pea Relish
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 (15.5 oz.) can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
- 1 onion. Chopped
- 1/2 cup chopped jalapenos, seeded (about 3 large jalapenos)
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 can fire roasted tomatoes
- 1 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Add peas, onion, and jalapeno, stirring constantly until softened, about 5 mins. Add garlic and cook for a minute longer. Add tomatoes, salt, pepper, paprika, and cumin. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until liquid is partially thickened, about 10 mins.
This was so good I had it the next morning with some scrambled eggs in a tortilla.
I love making a dish that brings back a memory, and this definitely fit the bill.
Until next time,