I get goosebumps when I find a smokin' deal. I think it is all about the 'thrill of the hunt'. Finding good ingredients for a great price is one of my favorite things in the world. Yesterday, I was at the grocery store, minding my own business, and I decided to peruse the Meat and Seafood cases. Low and behold, there were some "manager's specials" for decent quality meat/seafood that was very inexpensive. Score! I picked up a whole pork tenderloin, 2 t-bone steaks, and the catfish for this recipe for $13. Yup, all that for $13! I packaged and froze all items (but the catfish) right away. The 2 catfish fillets were $1.67 and $1.87, respectively. They are good sized so they could easily be halved to create 4 small fillets...perfectly sized to fit on a bun. What a deal!
Now, I was skeptical about buying discount fish. I really am picky when it comes to what I feed my family. I inspected it carefully, and I noticed the use/freeze date was 8/15. Okay, it was still good. I gave it a rigorous smell test. I mean, I put my face right up against the packaging and whiffed away right in the middle of the store. No fishy smell at all. PS-If fish ever smells even remotely fishy, do not buy it! I jiggled the package to see how firm the fish was...the jiggle factor is important with seafood. It was jiggle-free. I poked and prodded through the plastic wrap, too. Again, all was okay. It appeared to be good fish...no discoloration, no weird spots. I was starting to get funny looks at this point, so I decided that I would buy it and take it home for more experimentation. If it turned out to be bad, I would chuck it in the trash and only be out about $3. When I brought it home I unwrapped it right away. Again, no fishy smell. I poked. Very firm. I jiggled. No watery jiggles. I am fairly confident that this fish is good...and a total bargain. Yes! I carefully packaged it up and left in the fridge for tonight's dinner. I will inspect it again before cooking, but I think it will be fine.
I decided to make catfish sandwiches, broccoli slaw, tartar sauce, and my top secret cheesy potatoes. The recipe for the catfish was found on allrecipes.com and is similar to a recipe that my friend Claire had on her blog for Po' Boys. I am curious to see if there is a difference, so I am going to try the new recipe instead of her standard...just for fun.
The only recipe deviation is that I will slap the final result on a hamburger bun with homemade tartar sauce. There are quite a few things to make for tonight's dinner, but I am hoping to get some of it done during my son's nap time. Make ahead food is the best. I will post all the other recipes in separate posts, following this one. As usual, I will post the results after our meal.
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 (6 ounce) fillets catfish
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1. In a shallow bowl, combine the egg and lemon juice. In another shallow bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, Cajun seasoning, garlic powder and salt. Dip catfish into egg mixture, then coat with cornmeal mixture.
2. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Fry fillets, two at a time, for 5-6 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily with a fork.
To help breading adhere to the fish, pat fillets dry and coat lightly with flour before dipping in egg and dredging in cornmeal coating. Let stand for 5-10 minutes before frying.
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Place on hamburger bun or your favorite roll, with tartar sauce, for a yummy sandwich.