Cornmeal crusted catfish topped with a peach and tomato salsa
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• 2-4 catfish fillets
• 1 cup buttermilk
• 1 large egg
• 3-4 shakes Tabasco sauce
• vegetable oil for sauteing/frying fish
• 1/2 cup cornmeal
• 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
• pinch of salt
For the salsa:
• approx. 1 1/2 cups diced tomato
• approx. 1 1/2 cups diced ripe peach
• 3-4 Tbs finely diced red onion
• 1 heaping Tbs deseeded, minced jalapeno pepper
• 2-3 Tbs fresh chopped mint or cilantro
• 1 Tbs lemon juice
• 2 Tbs olive oil
• salt to taste
1. Use a large pie dish to combine about 1 cup buttermilk with 1 large egg and a few shakes of Tabasco, whisk that up and place the catfish fillets in that to soak.
2. Use a mixing bowl to combine equal amounts of diced tomato and diced ripe peach using about 1 1/2 - 2 cups each and, for that amount, add about 1/4 cup finely diced red onion, 1 heaping Tbs finely minced, deseeded jalapeno pepper, 2-3 Tbs fresh chopped mint, a squeeze of lemon juice, a little olive oil, salt to taste and toss to combine.
3. Add 1/8 to 1/4-inch vegetable oil to a large cast iron skillet, or heavy bottomed pan, on medium to medium high heat. (See hints below)
4. While that is heating up, whisk together 2 parts cornmeal with 1 part all-purpose flour and a good pinch of salt and then dredge the catfish fillets in that to coat.
5. Keep your eye on the oil, you want it to be hot but not really smoking when you add the fish and you may need to adjust the temperature a little bit as you're cooking the fish.
6. You want it to be golden brown on both sides and just cooked through and then, once the fish is cooked to your liking, serve it up with a generous amount salsa right on top!
HINTS: It may be a good idea to dredge the fish first, before heating the oil, so that the oil doesn't get too hot in the meantime. This may make more salsa than you need but it's nice to serve a generous amount with each serving.
: Chef Dan Eaton spent his early years on a dairy farm in Vermont where he developed a fondness for foods "straight from the land." Cooking seasonally was more of a necessity then but Dan still finds local ingredients, in season, a driving force behind his menu creations.