Fried Catfish

Catch Your Own, If You Can!

 

First, before I get to the recipe, let me call your attention to the accompanying photo of my in-laws, John and Jurdene Lewis standing beside what you’ll have to agree is one big, honkin’ catfish! 

I’m going to do my best to explain how they caught this big guy, but admittedly I’m a bit of a city-girl when it comes to some of this stuff, so my apologies to my father-in-law in advance if it get a few of the details wrong.  Here’s pretty much what happened:  They were fishing down on Proctor Lake in central Texas, and on this particular fishing trip they were using a trotline.  Now for those non-anglers out there, a trotline is a big heavy line, between 50 – 100 feet long, with as many as 25 or 30 hooks tied at intervals along the line.  What you do is, you tie one end of the line onto a tree or stump on the bank, and then you stretch the line out across the water, which spreads the hooks out evenly.  The free end of the line is weighted, so it sinks to the bottom and that keeps your line from traveling too far down stream.  Most folks also tie some kind of buoy to the free end, which floats on top of the water and helps them see where the line ends.  The hooks are all baited, and they just sit there in the water at varying depths, depending on how close they are to the shore.  You set out your trotline in the evening and check it early the next morning.  It’s a lot of work, and is mostly a waiting game, but when you haul up a catch as big as this fellow, you're pretty much guaranteed to impress all your friends with one whale of a good fish story!

 

Ingredients: 

6 medium Catfish filets + nuggets

2 C Yellow Cornmeal

Salt and Pepper

Cooling Oil

First, make sure everything else for your meal is completely ready to serve before frying the fish!  Clean the catfish to remove all bones and "black gooey stuff” that is just under the skin.  Rinse it and pat it dry with paper towels.  Heat up a deep skillet to medium high, with just enough oil to come about halfway up on the fish.  Salt and pepper the cornmeal generously.  Put the cornmeal into a pie pan with shallow sides and spread it out.  Dredge the catfish in the cornmeal to coat generously on each side.  Gently lay the fish in the oil, being careful not to splatter the grease.  Fry on one side without moving it around for 3 minutes.  Turn with a wide spatula and fry on the other side just 2 minutes.  Drain on paper towels and serve immediately.

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