I made it over to Adams Fairacre Farms in Newburgh today (if you live in this area, go there, it’s worth the trip) and they did have the catfish I wanted today, and at a very reasonable price I might add. I also ended up picking up a whole cut-up fryer chicken for $3.00 (which could be great for stock, or a few meals, I haven’t decided yet) and some slab bacon that they make themselves that I can cut and freeze and will probably last a long time in this house, and only cost $6.00 for a 2 1/2 pound slab, so it’s worth the effort to cut it yourself at that price. Anyway, now I can make the recipe I wanted to, which is Oven-Fried Catfish.
3/4 cup dried breadcrumbs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 skinless catfish fillets (6 to 8 ounces each)
Salt and pepper
Lemon wedges (for serving)
Adjust an oven rack to the upper-middle position and heat the oven to 450 degrees. Spread the bread crumbs in a shallow dish. Mix the eggs, mustard, thyme, basil, garlic powder and cayenne together in a separate shallow dish. Pat the catfish dry with paper towels then season with salt and pepper. Working with one piece of fish at a time, dip it into the egg mixture, then coat with the bread crumbs. Press on the crumbs to make sure they adhere to the fish. Lay the coated fish on a wire rack set over a foil lined baking sheet.
Bake the fish on the wire rack until the coating is golden and the fish flakes apart when gently prodded with a paring knife, about 12 to 15 minutes. Serve with the lemon wedges.
A couple of keys when oven frying not just fish, but poultry as well. Using a dried breadcrumbs does seem to help over the traditional flour, egg and fresh bread crumbs. The dried bread crumbs make it a little crisper and since they are pre-cooked it helps ensure that you won’t overcook the fish to get a crunchy coating. Second, using the wire rack in the baking sheet is important with oven frying. You want to be sure that air can circulate all the way around so you get crisp on all sides and not just crisp on top and soggy on the bottom.
I was going to make just plain white rice tonight, which is fine, but I thought I would mix things up a bit and mae a simple Rice Pilaf instead. This is an easy version, with few ingredients to it, but just as tasty.
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 onion, minced
1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice, rinsed and drained
2 1/4 cups water
Rinse the rice in a colander under cold running water until the water runs clear. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and 1 teaspoon of salt and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the drained rice. Saute until the edges if the rice begin to turn translucent, about 3 minutes. Stir in the water and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce the heat to low. Cook until the rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed, about 17 minutes. Transfer the pot to a cold burner or trivet and let the rice stand for 10 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Rinsing the rice before cooking it removes some of the excess starch to help make the rice a little fluffier, and toasting it for the 3 minutes helps to bring out some of the nuttiness of the rice, which is great for a pilaf. This recipe also uses a little less water than the standard 2:1 ratio usually called for when making rice, but this also helps to make the rice fluffier, more tender and not mushy and sticky.
Tonight’s vegetable dish is a Green Herb Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette. It’s something different and refreshing, and only has a few ingredients to it, but the taste and smell of the fresh herbs is wonderful. This would be great in the spring and summer if you grow your own herbs and can use them, but I think it will work just as well now. If you can’t find Champagne vinegar, (and I had trouble finding it around here) you can always use rice vinegar instead.
Green Herb Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon minced shallot
2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1 head butter lettuce, leaves separated and torn into bite-size pieces (you could really use whatever type of lettuce you like here)
1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 cup fresh chervil sprigs
In the bottom of a salad bowl, combine the olive oil and shallot. Add the vinegar, salt and pepper and mix well with a fork. Top with the lettuce, parsley, cilantro and chervil. When ready to serve, toss well.
You could use arugula, spinach or romaine in this salad, or add other green herbs like mint, or in smaller quantities oregano or thyme or maybe add a cheese like Gorgonzola or Stilton or blue cheese.
That covers tonight’s meal. We didn’t get go over next week’s meal plan yet, but I hope to do that tonight so I can get started on that. I am thinking of adding a slow cooker meal to our routine so we could have at least one of those meals each week. This would allow me to set things up in the slow cooker and just let it go for the day. What do you think? I know lots of people use slow cookers pretty regularly. Is there a slow cooker recipe you would like to see or one that you use that would be good? Just let me know. Tomorrow night is Pot Roast, Mashed Potatoes and Carrots for dinner, so tune in for that recipe (which I have done in the slow cooker before, and it comes out nice). Until then, enjoy your day!