Catfish Classique!

When you are married to a Southern man, catfish is one of those things that are inevitable in life. Personally I was a little afraid of catfish. I had this visual image in my head of a giant fish with whiskers, and for all I know, that is actually what catfish DO look like before they make it to the seafood counter at the supermarket. Or maybe they look like this.

Only with fins. One way or the other, I procrastinated as long as possible. And then one day I ran across this recipe, which involved both shrimp and vermouth cream sauce, along with some deep-frying, and I figured it was now or never. So off I went to Fairway, where catfish was on sale (yes!!) and picked some up. It looked like, well, fish. This recipe calls for coating the catfish in a milk/egg/flour batter and frying it until it is golden and beautiful. Then you quickly saute some nice big shrimp in garlic and butter, and finish up by whisking some vermouth, lemon juice and cream into the shrimp drippings until you have a gorgeous thick sauce. A little red pepper for some zing, and then you are ready to assemble. Catfish, topped with shrimp, topped with sauce, topped with some chopped scallions. I put some roasted string beans on the side, invited the grandparents for dinner and it was catfish time.

Guess what?

Here is how I felt after taking just one bite.

I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks. Or an old cat. Or something. Or maybe the moral of the story is, cream sauce and deep-frying making everything right with the world. One way or the other, I’ll be making this one again…give it a try. In the meantime, Happy New Year to all of you, and I’ll be back next year. See you then!

CATFISH CLASSIQUE, from Southern Living Homestyle Cooking 

Catfish Classique!
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1½ cups flour
  • 1¼ teaspoons salt
  • 2½ teaspoons ground red pepper
  • 4 6 ounce catfish filets
  • Vegetable oil
  • 12 large fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
  • ¼ cup vermouth
  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • ¼ cup chopped scallions
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • Lemon wedges
  1. Combine egg and milk in shallow dish until blended.
  2. Combine flour, one teaspoon salt and one teaspoon red pepper in another shallow dish.
  3. Dredge catfish in flour, then milk mixture, then flour again.
  4. Pour two inches of oil into dutch oven or deep frying pan and heat to 37Fry filets, two at a time, for six minutes or until golden. Drain on paper towels and keep warm.
  5. Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat. Add shrimp and garlic and cook for 4 minutes or until shrimp turn pink. Remove shrimp and keep warm.
  6. Add vermouth to skillet, bring to a boil and cook one minute. Add cream, half of scallions, lemon juice, remaining salt and pepper and cook sauce 15 minutes or until thickened a little, stirring often.
  7. Place catfish on plates, drizzle with sauce. Top with shrimp and sprinkle with remaining scallions. Garnish with lemon wedges and serve. Meow.


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  1. DocChuck says

    I drop by your site now and then, and normally mildly enjoy your comments.

    But you have now offended a 67-year old (Ph.D. x 2) whose relatives arrived in this country at Plimoth Plantation, who settled in and helped to develop the South, and who have little — actually, NO — respect for yankees.

    How can YOU denigrate one of our Southern delicacies, the wild-caught blue catfish (not that crap that you yankees buy in your jewish-owned grocery stores!).

    So, if our catfish offends you, that is too bad. And what makes you so presumptuous as to think that I (or anyone) would want to PURCHASE a photo of your cat? LOL!

    Carry on. Oh, and by the way, I am a cat lover. But I do NOT like dogs or yankees.

  2. Anonymous says

    We are Southern's and live near the water – anyway, we have cooked a dish similar to your catfish dish and it is so rich and delicious! And I do love the pic of your cat – Just down to one cat and one dog now – Where in the South?!?

  3. Kate Morgan Jackson says

    My wonderful Southern husband was born on the water in Jacksonville (grandson of a shrimper) and grew up in Decatur, Georgia…and has introduced me to some of my favorite foods, including grits (the best!), Dixie beer and now catfish, which I now love. And I've taught him about the wonders of New England maple syrup. Open-mindedness is a wonderful thing. :-) And thanks for the nice words about the kitty picture. Just for the record, my dog is also a Southerner – a redbone coonhound from South Carolina! Happy happy New Year to one and all…

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