I love catfish, and ate my share while teaching and lecturing down in the South. This is my third or forth recipe I’ve posted on catfish, and for this one I was determined to get a baked piece of catfish to produce that same crunch on the outside with that wonderful moist interior that’s produced by deep frying.
With this recipe, I believe that I have accomplished that goal. The ingredients are simple, and the taste is awesome.
Add all of the coating ingredients to a large bowl, thoroughly mix, and reserve.
Gather your ingredients.
Place a rack in the middle position, and preheat the oven to 425f (220c).
Add the hot sauce and the buttermilk to a shallow dish large enough to hold the filets.
Place the filets in the dish, and allow them to sit for 8 minutes.
After eight minutes, flip the filets over for an additional 8 minutes.
Chef’s Note: In place of the dish, you could always use a large Ziploc sealable bag.
Chef’s Note: I tried several ways to make the wet ingredients for this recipe. I tried eggs; however, I didn’t like the taste of the eggs with the coating, and they made the fish feel mushy. I tried using regular and non-fat milk, but neither of them gave me the taste I was searching for. I finally settled on that old Southern favorite buttermilk… that and a bit of hot sauce did the trick.
While the catfish are soaking up that yummy buttermilk/hot sauce mixture, place a wire rack over a parchment-lined baking sheet.
One at a time take a filet, shake off the excess buttermilk, and thoroughly coat with the cornmeal mixture.
Place on the wire rack, and repeat for the remaining filets.
Place in the preheated oven and cook until golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes.
Chef's Essentials: If you don’t have a wire rack that you can use in baking, I highly recommend that you purchase one. They are so useful. For example, if you don’t use a wire rack in this recipe, you should go in halfway through baking and flip the fish. In my opinion, this is an essential tool that all chefs should have in their kitchens.
Serve up while still nice and warm with some homemade hushpuppies, some coleslaw, and maybe a few fries. Oh, and don’t forget good tarter sauce, and maybe more hot sauce. Enjoy.
Keep the faith, and keep cooking.
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