It must have been all of the Jill Scott and Erica Badu that I listened to this week that helped influence this neo-soul food meal! Soul food means different things to different people, but for me it mostly means fried fish and greens – in this case catfish and a mixed of collard and mustard greens.
I love to experiment with catfish because it is versatile and works well with a variety of spices, herbs and cooking techniques. One of my favorite ways of preparing catfish is by blackening it by using a variety of dry and fresh herbs and spices, and roasting it in the oven. My other favorite method is pan-frying.
Pan-frying is a cooking technique that involves a skillet and a moderate amount of oil. I love this technique because it turns the fish crispy, golden brown and moist in the center. I don’t fry food very often, but when I do, I enjoy pan-frying.
Four (4) small catfish fillets
Spice blend: A tablespoon each of garlic powder, cayenne pepper, paprika, black pepper, sea salt and dried thyme. Mix to blend.
2 cups of all-purpose flour
1 large paper bag
Oil for frying
Start by rinsing the catfish fillets. Pat the fish dry, but not too dry. We want a little extra moisture on the fish because this will allow the flour to form a crust when frying.
Sprinkle the spice blend directly to the fish; be sure to coat each piece evenly.
Place the flour in the paper bag. Add the fish to the paper bag and shake gently to coat. After a few shakes the fish should be coated. If not shake it again. Once the fish is well coated with flour remove them from the bag and allow them to rest on a tea towel or paper towels.
Heat a skillet, preferably cast iron, to about 375 degrees. Add two pieces of fish at a time. Once the fish begins to fry, lower the temperature to about 360, this will prevent the flour coating from burning. Cook on one side for about 4 minutes then turn and cook for another 3 minutes. The fish should be dark golden brown.
Remove the fillets from the heat and allow them to rest on a cooling rack or a paper bag (makes for easy cleanup).
I enjoy serving fried catfish with spinach, kale and any kind of greens. It is also great as a sandwich.