2 pounds fresh catfish filets
2 cups milk
10 dashes Tabasco sauce
1 Tablespoon yellow mustard
1 cup “fish fry” mix
½ cup flour
¾ cup cornstarch
2 Tablespoons Tony Chachere’s Cajun seasoning
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon garlic powder
In a medium-sized baking dish or pie pan, mix together fish fry, cornmeal, flour, cornstarch and seasonings. Gently dredge catfish pieces in dry mix and set aside.
In a large cast-iron pan, heat 2 inches of peanut oil to 350 degrees. The temperature of the oil is where most people have problems with frying. I flick a little bit of water into the pan and I can tell by the sizzle when it is right. Every time you add a piece of catfish, the oil should bubble furiously around it. If not, you are adding too many pieces too quickly and the oil is cooling. You will need to constantly adjust the fire during the frying process. For the right temperature, I need to keep the dial between 4 and 6 on my stove, but that may vary. It is best to use a thermometer until you get the hang of it. I find the Chinese wire deep frying tool used for woks invaluable for deep-frying.
Fry catfish in batches, being careful not to crowd the pan or the oil will cool. Fry the less thick pieces for about 2 minutes, and the thicker pieces for about 4 minutes, turning the pieces frequently.
Drain on paper towels, and dab with additional paper towels to soak up any grease.
Dip in Tartar sauce, Remoulade, or even mayonnaise spiked with Tabasco. Or make yourself a Po’Boy! (I had a lot of help with this recipe from someone known as “Big Daddy” on a Louisiana cooking site).