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Fried Catfish Redux and Bacon Braised Green Beans

I took the weekend off from blogging to spend some time with the family and have fun, but now its back to it! Tonight I made some fried catfish. I have made catfish before, and you can find the recipe here, so today I wanted to try something slightly different. Every recipe I could find really suggests that frying catfish is the best way to make it, and while it may not be the healthiest way to go, I have to admit it does turn out good. As I was searching around, I sent a Twitter message to America’s Test Kitchen asking them for some advice, and they shot back to me this recipe from Cook’s Illustrated for Pan-Fried Catfish. I broke out my trusty cast iron for this one since the one I have has higher sides than a regular skillet and works well when frying with oil. I find myself using the cast iron pan for most everything lately. It really retains heat well and I can throw it in the oven to roast as well. Anyway, back to the catfish:

Pan-Fried Catfish

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup fine-ground cornmeal

 Salt and ground black pepper

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 large eggs

2-3 cups vegetable oil (I didn’t use this much, I cut it in half and it was fine)

2 catfish fillets, skin and dark fatty flesh just below skin trimmed, fillets cut in half lengthwise (I didn’t do this either; since it was just Sean and I for dinner tonight, I left the fillets whole and Sean and I split one and I saved the other for another meal)

Set a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet, place the sheet on the middle oven rack and heat the oven to 200 degrees. Place 1/2 cup of flour in a wide, shallow dish. In a separate wide, shallow dish, mix together the remaining 1/2 cup of flour, cornmeal, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/4 teaspoon of pepper, and cayenne. in a third shallow dish, whisk the eggs with 1 tablespoon of oil until uniform.

Pat the fish fillets dry with paper towels and sprinkle each side with salt and pepper. Drop the fish in the flour and shake the dish to coat. Shake the excess flour from each piece, then, using tongs, dip the fillets in the egg mixture, turning to coat well and allowing the excess to drip off. Coat the fillets with the cornmeal mixture, shake off the excess, and lay them on another wire rack set of a rimmed baking sheet.

Heat 1/2 inch of oil in a large heavy bottomed pot or cast iron pan over high heat until the oil reaches a temperature of 400 degrees. Place two catfish fillets in the oil and fry, turning once, until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Adjust the heat as necessary to keep the oil between 385 and 390 degrees. Remove the fillets from the oil with a slotted spoon and lay them on a plate lined with several layers of paper towels; blot to help remove any excess oil. Transfer the fried fish to the wire rack in the warm oven. Bring the oil back up to 400 degrees and repeat the cooking process with the remaining fish fillets. Serve the fried fish with lemon wedges or dipping sauce.

Since I only made the two pieces, I didn’t have a second batch to make, but if you have larger pieces of catfish you may want to cut them down and do them in batches so as not to crowd them into the pan when cooking.

I had bought some fresh green beans in the store yesterday, so I thought I would make them as well and wanted to jazz them up a little bit, and what jazzes things up better than bacon? I got this recipe from the Food Network’s Anne Burrell. It’s an easy recipe, but takes a little time so you may want to get it started before whatever you are serving  it with.


Bacon Braised Green Beans

Extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 pound bacon, diced

2 garlic cloves, smashed

Pinch crushed red pepper flakes

1/2 pound button mushrooms, stemmed and sliced (I omitted these, other than me, no one in my house eats mushrooms, so out they went)

Salt

1 pound string beans, stems removed

1 cup chicken stock

Coat a large skillet with olive oil over medium heat. Add the bacon, garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until the bacon is crispy, about 5 minutes. When the garlic has become golden brown and very aromatic, remove it and discard.

Add the mushrooms (if using) to the bacon pan, season with salt, to taste, and cook until they become soft, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the beans and the chicken stock, season with salt, to taste, cover and cook over medium low heat for 40 to 45 minutes. If the liquid reduces too much during the cooking time, add some water to make up the difference. Remove the lid and cook until almost all of the liquid is reduced. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve.

It’s not hard to make, it just takes a little longer than I thought it would. I reduced the liquid all the way down to almost nothing because it allowed the bacon to crisp up again and pick up the flavor from the chicken stock. I also served the dish with some white rice. All in all, I think it turned out pretty well.

I have a steak to cook tomorrow; I’m not sure how I am going to do it yet, but I’ll come up with something. If it’s nice enough out, I may throw it on the grill. Check back tomorrow and see what happens. Until then, enjoy your evening and enjoy your meal!

 
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Posted by on June 11, 2012 in Cooking, Dinner, Seafood, Side Dishes, Vegetables

 

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Quick Pan Roasted Chicken and Potatoes

I’ve been working really hard lately doing lots of articles, so I haven’t had much fun time for writing, like taking care of my blogs (I have another blog at www.thoeofficeofiguanaflats.com if you want to check it out) and I haven’t had a lot of time for cooking either. Yesterday I made some meatloaf and mashed potatoes, which I have made before and posted the recipes for on here earlier if you would like them (they are very tasty!). Today I needed something quick and happened to have a whole chicken breast in the fridge to make, so I decided to make a quick pan roasted chicken and potatoes, some asparagus, and I had some all-purpose gravy I made for the meatloaf that we can use as well. Ever since the Ranting Chef did a post on his blog a while back about his cast iron pan, I have been using mine a lot (it always sits out on the stove now) and this dish is perfect for that since I can throw everything in there and then put it right in the stove. Saves time and clean up! This is a super-fast meal that you can throw together pretty quickly and even use boneless chicken breasts if you don’t have the bone-in breasts. You could even just use chicken parts like legs and thighs instead if that’s what you have around.

Pan Roasted Chicken and Potatoes

4 split bone-in chicken breasts (or whatever parts you want to use)

6 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 pounds red potatoes, cut into 1-inch wedges

1 onion, cut into wedges

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 garlic clove, minced

1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves

Pinch red pepper flakes

Adjust an oven rack to the lowest position and heat the oven to 450 degrees. pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Brown the chicken well on the skin side, about 5 minutes.

While the chicken browns, toss the potatoes and onion with 1 tablespoon of the oil, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper in a microwave safe bowl. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Microwave on high until the potatoes begin to soften, about 5 to 10 minutes, shaking the bowl (without removing the plastic) halfway through cooking.

Remove the chicken and place back down in the skillet skin side up. Add the potatoes and onions and transfer to the oven and bake until the thickest part of the breast registers 160 degrees on an instant read thermometer, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Whisk the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil, lemon juice, garlic, thyme and red pepper flakes together. Drizzle over the chicken and potatoes before serving.

Nice and simple for a weeknight meal and the potatoes and chicken are nicely browned in the cast iron pan (don’t forget to season your pan after you wash it; it will last forever if you take care of it).

That’s all I have for tonight. Tomorrow night Sean and I are off to the Mets game so there’s no meal tomorrow night, just hot dogs at the ballpark. I’ll get back to the blog on Thursday. Until then, enjoy your evening and enjoy your meal!

 
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Posted by on May 15, 2012 in Cookbooks, Dinner, Poultry

 

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Jennifer Probst

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Laissez Faire

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