Bensonhurst Kitchen: Cajun Fried Catfish

Here at Bensonhurst Bean, we’ve made no secret of the fact that we love the people, music and, of course, cuisine of Louisiana.

Upriver from New Orleans, the swamps and bayous became home to one very curious group.

French Canadian refugees booted out by the British from what is now Nova Scotia settled in a place that, at the time, nobody wanted to go. Amongst Malaria and alligators, they flourished in an environment many had considered uninhabitable.

They had come from Acadia and were therefore Acadian – which the local dialect jumbled to the term we use to refer to them today, Cajun.

How does this tie into Bensonhurst, you ask? Well, it really doesn’t – except for the fact that we like good, home cooked food and that’s what Cajun cooking is all about.

In this week’s edition of BK, Colleen turns the not always popular catfish into a tender, well-seasoned treat.

Staying true to the dish’s southern roots, she used corn flour for breading, as well as some Cajun spices to excite your spirits along with your palate.

Bon Appétit!

Colleen’s Cajun Fried Catfish

Ingredients:

4 catfish fillets, skin removed and cleaned (approximately 5-6 ounces)
1 egg, beaten
1 1/2 tablespoons milk
1 cup corn flour
1 1/2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning (I like “Slap Ya Mama“)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper
1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes (optional)
1 quart of oil for frying  **

** Use an oil with a high smoke point such as peanut oil or canola oil.

Directions:

Heat oil in a deep fryer or a deep skillet to 365 degrees F.

In a medium bowl mix the beaten egg and milk.

In another bowl thoroughly combine corn flour, cajun seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder, lemon pepper and red pepper flakes.

Dip your catfish fillets in the egg/milk mixture covering both sides equally.

Then dredge the catfish fillets in the corn flour mixture, also covering both sides equally.  The entire fillet should be completely covered with breading.

Deep fry for approximately 3 minutes or until golden brown.  The fillet should be slightly crisp on the outside and moist and flaky on the inside when done.

Serve with your favorite side (cole slaw is a great choice), some hot sauce, tartar sauce and a lemon wedge.

TIPS:

Corn flour isn’t always easy to find, you can substitute corn meal. However, corn meal will change the texture of the breading, making it crunchier.

Cutting your own fish fillets? Make it easier by using a sharp knife and partially frozen catfish. Allow the catfish to thaw before breading and frying.

Recipe and tips by Colleen

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