Louisiana is the land of great food and this time of year, there’s nothing better than a mess of fried fish you caught yourself. If you’ve gone to the trouble to catch them, you might as well go to the trouble to clean them and cook them.
Do it right and it’s worth the effort.
If you are going to eat fresh fish, start by keeping them that way — fresh. Keep them alive in a live well or iced down in a cooler to keep the meat fresh. Then when you clean the fish, make sure you keep the fish meat cold at all times. It does make a difference. We’ve got lots of fish to choose from — bass, crappie, catfish, bream. Most people eat filets, but it’s hard to beat a batch of whole fried bream if you know how to pick the bones out to eat them.
It’s really simple to fry fish. Add a shake of salt and pepper, or your favorite seasoning, to each piece of fish. You can shake a little Cajun seasoning or hot sauce on them as well if that’s the way you like them. Put them in a bowl or plastic bag with plain corn meal or seasoned fish fry of your choice. Cover each filet well.
Heat up some peanut oil in a fish cooker or just an old black iron skillet and heat the oil to about 350-360 degrees. Using a thermometer is really important for consistent frying. Ease the filets into the oil so as to not knock off the coating. Fry each batch for 3-4 minutes. Believe it or not, the fish will begin to float to the top when they are done. If you like them extra brown and crunchy, cover your fish in some plain mustard before seasoning them, then continue with the process outlined above. Here’s an important tip: Cook them too long and they will be chewy and tough.
Drain the excess oil off the fish on a rack or a pan with several layers of paper towels. Racks work better. Combine them with some french fries, hushpuppies, some fried green tomatoes and whatever else you like and you’ve got a supper that is hard to beat.
Put a picture on Facebook and you’ll find out how many jealous friends you have!