Although I occasionally like to cook tremendously complicated things that take copious amounts of prep time, my time is at a premium these days. However, since the thing that has my time at a premium is the spring paper season, I'm being more budget-conscious, which means cooking rather than ordering takeout. I'm rather pleased with how tonight's endeavour turned out, and so I share with you:Breaded Whitefish The Way Meredith and Her Mom Make It
filets of any kind of white fish. In Texas it would be catfish; I used whiting.
cornmeal (a handful or two; you can also use flour, but I think cornmeal tastes better)
1 egg per 2 filets
herbs/spices to taste (you cannot go wrong with Lawry's seasoned salt)
cooking oil, butter, margarine, lard, whatever (I used the herbed olive oil that hukuma
left over here, and it was awesome)
Beat the egg(s) in a bowl or glass and set aside. Combine cornmeal and seasonings on a plate or tray suitable for dredging the fish through. (Protip: the styrofoam tray you probably bought the fish in works great and you don't have to dirty a plate. If you buy your fish wrapped in heavy paper, that works too.) For each filet, brush one side with egg, dredge that side through the cornmeal, then repeat for the other side. Do this as many times as you want. Once makes for a fairly thin breading; twice is what most recipes say to do; three times makes a nice thick breading; four is probably too much unless you really like breading.
If your cooking fat is solid, melt it in your frying pan; if not, just pour some in. You want just a bit less than will cover the bottom of your pan. The oil is hot enough when it pops when you flick in a drop of water; if it's steaming, it's too hot. Fry the filets for about a minute on each side until the breading is a nice golden brown, then turn up the heat and give it another 30 seconds on each side.
That's it. Serve and eat, sprinkled with lemon juice if you like that kind of thing.
Prep time, about ten minutes; cooking time, about seven minutes. Total cost: €4, since whiting was on special at the supermarket today and I already had cornmeal and cooking oil. If you don't keep a bag of cornmeal in your pantry, do yourself a favour and drop a buck on a bag of it -- it's the best all-purpose breading out there, and you'll already have it around when the need arises.
Tomorrow I get to figure out what to do with the kilo of bone-in chicken thighs I also picked up on special, apart from throwing the bones in the stockpot and boiling them down for chicken broth. Next week chocolatecoffee
will be here, and I'm sure we'll figure out something clever to do with that.