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Monday, October 26, 2009

Cornmeal Crusted Catfish with Bacon & Cheddar Grits

As you may have noticed, I'm slowly working my way into southern cuisine. I used to be afraid of it...the okra, the tons of butter, the grits (what are those?). But I've developed a few favorites. I'd never actually bought or cooked catfish until a couple of weeks ago. It's very cheap and tasty and great with this rich side. My cousin and his girlfriend were visiting a few weeks ago and we went to a new restaurant. They had a catfish and grits special and it was it is with a little bit of my own flare...

2-3 strips of bacon
1 cup cornmeal
2 1/2 tsp cayenne
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic salt (if you have it)
1/4 cup panko (if you have it)
2 eggs, beaten
2 medium catfish fillets
4 tbsp butter
2 1/3 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup old fashion grits (not quick-cooking)
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1. In a large pan, fry the bacon on medium high heat until crispy.

2. While bacon is cooking, beat the eggs in a bowl and pour the cornmeal and panko onto a large plate.

3. One at a time, dip the fillets into the egg and then dredge in the cornmeal/panko mixture until well coated. Set the fillets aside.

4. Put the chicken broth in a medium sized saucepan and bring to a boil.

5. Add the grits to the broth and reduce heat to low. Add salt and cover. Stir occasionally.

6. When bacon is done, pull out of the pan and lay on a paper towel until cool.

7. Take a paper towel and soak up about 1/2 of the bacon fat in the pan - leave enough so that a thick layer remains.

8. Add a little olive oil if you need to.

9. Add the catfish to the pan. While the fish is frying, chop the bacon into small bits and add to the grits.

10. Fry the fishuntil browned on both sides and then remove from heat.

11. When grits have absorbed all of the broth and are creamy, add the shredded cheese and stir until melted.

*Serve the fish over the grits. Great with a side of steamed broccoli!!

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