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    Marinated Southern Fried Catfish (Gluten-Free)


    Jefferson Adams

    Okay, so fried foods aren't exactly a good model for the healthiest way to eat. I get that. However, being gluten-free has made me pretty much fried food-free, as well. So, when I discovered recently that crushed Rice Chex makes an amazing gluten-free coating for frying foods, the gloves came off. I've been breading and frying all of my old favorites.


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    One of my old favorites is most certainly catfish prepared in the southern style. Now, I know two ways to make catfish, though there are doubtless many, many more. One way is dry, and the other is marinated.

    This marinated version is my favorite way to prepare catfish.

    The finished marinated Southern fried catfish. Photo: CC--ViNullIngredients:
    2 lbs. catfish fillets
    1½ quarts vegetable oil, for frying
    1½ tbsp. salt, for brine
    1 quart water, for brine
    2 cups buttermilk
    2 cups Rice Chex, finely crushed
    2 cups self-rising cornmeal
    1 teaspoon seafood seasoning, such as Old Bay
    ½ teaspoon salt
    ½ teaspoon red cayenne pepper
    ½ teaspoon black pepper, to taste
    ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    ¼ teaspoon paprika
    ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
    ¼ teaspoon thyme

    Directions:

    Step One: Soak the Fish
    In a large bowl, dissolve 1½ tablespoons of salt in 1 quart of water. Cut catfish fillets into 3 inch strips and add to salt water.

    Marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature, or in the refrigerator for one hour.

    Remove fish from salt water, and dry lightly on paper towel.

    Step Two:
    Marinate fish fillets in a small bowl containing buttermilk, and a dash of salt and pepper. (About 30 minutes).

    In a large plastic bag, combine the cornmeal, crushed Rice Chex, ½ teaspoon salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, paprika, garlic powder, and thyme.

    Pull fish fillets from the buttermilk, a few fillets at a time, add to the cornmeal mix, and toss gently until fillets are evenly coated.

    Place coated fillets on a clean, dry plate.

    Step Three: Cook Fish
    In a Dutch oven or fryer, heat oil to 350°F. Use a slotted spoon to gently lower several pieces at a time into hot oil. Fry until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Fish will float when done.

    Make sure the fish cooks evenly on the outside. You can turn fillets once if necessary to make sure the outsides are evenly brown. Remove from hot oil to drain on paper towels.

    Tip: For crispy fillets, make sure not to overcrowd the pan. Too many fillets at once will lower the oil temperature, which will make the breading absorb oil, and leave your fillets soggy.

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    Guest Kandyce

    Posted

    I am looking for a great catfish recipe. I use rice chex as a filler in meatloafs.

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams is a freelance writer living in San Francisco. He has covered Health News for Examiner.com, and provided health and medical content for Sharecare.com. His work has appeared in Antioch Review, Blue Mesa Review, CALIBAN, Hayden's Ferry Review, Huffington Post, the Mississippi Review, and Slate, among others.

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  • Related Articles

    Jefferson Adams
    I recently began using crushed Rice Chex as a gluten-free coating for frying foods. Happy with the results, so far, I've began to tackle all of my old favorites, including catfish.
    Now, in my decidedly un-Southern opinion, catfish is best when first soaked in brine, then marinated in buttermilk. Some folks like an egg wash, some don't. 
    However, when I want catfish, but don't have time to soak and marinate and cook my favored recipe, then I turn to what I call a quick, or a 'dry' recipe. So called, because there's no dunking the catfish in any egg or buttermilk. Just add seasoning and cornmeal coating and cook. This simple method makes preparation and clean-up a breeze.
    The recipe here makes about four servings, but it is easy to scale up or down. It also works well with just about any type of fish.
    Ingredients:
    2 pounds catfish fillets, skinned
    2 tablespoons crab boil seasoning, like Old Bay
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon pepper
    ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
    ¼ teaspoon paprika
    ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
    2 cups Rice Chex, finely crushed
    1 cup self-rising cornmeal
    1½ quarts vegetable oil, for frying
    Directions:
    Place Rice Chex in a sturdy plastic bag, and crush with a rolling pin or heavy pan until powdery.
    Fill a Dutch oven or a deep frying pot with oil, and heat to 350 degrees F.
    Sprinkle both sides of each catfish with salt, pepper and crab boil seasoning.
    In a separate bowl, combine crushed Rice Chex, spices, and cornmeal. Coat the catfish in the mixture and place in hot oil.
    Using slotted spoon or heat-resistant spatula, gently lower pieces one at a time into hot oil. Cooking just a few pieces at a time, fry until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Fish will float when done. Drain on paper towels.
    Tip: For crispy fillets, make sure not to overcrowd the pan. Adding too many fillets at a time will drop the oil temperature, causing the breading to absorb oil, and leaving your fillets soggy.


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