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Smothered Catfish - (Serves 6)


Fish Ingredients:

8 cups vegetable oil

1 cup self-rising flour

1 tablespoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper

6 medium dressed catfish (1/2 lb. each)



Gravy Ingredients:

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tablespoons Lawry's Seasoned Salt

1/2 tablespoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, or more to taste

6 cups water

3 medium russet potatoes, peeled & cut into 1-inch thick pieces

1 medium red bell pepper, sliced thin

Grits, rice, or brown rice, for serving



1.  To Make the Fish:  In a large (5 quart) pot, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat until it registers 375 degrees F on a deep-fry thermometer.  Have ready a rack set over a baking sheet.


2.  Mix the flour, salt, and pepper in a paper bag.  One at a time, drop the fish into the paper bag and shake the bag well to cover the fish with flour.  Shake excess flour off the fish and put it on a piece of wax paper.


3.  When the oil hits the right temperature, fry the catfish, one at a time, until golden brown, giving them 3 minutes on each side.  Drain the fish on the rack set over the baking sheet.


4.  To Make the Gravy:  Pour off all but 1/4 cup of the cooking oil.  Over low heat, slowly whisk in the flour, seasoned salt, regular salt and pepper.  Cook, whisking, for about 8 minutes, until the flour and fat mixture reaches a slow boil and has turned a light caramel color.  Gradually stir in the water and continue stirring until the gravy has thickened.


5.  Add the fish to the gravy, along with the potatoes and peppers. Let simmer for about 12 minutes, until the potato pieces are cooked through.


.  Serve right away, setting one fish over each bowl of hot grits, rice, or brown rice.  Ladle on the vegetables and plenty of gravy.



Crab Cakes - (Makes 8 crab Cakes)


Ingredients:1 lb. Fresh lump crabmeat

3 green onions (scallions), white & firm green parts, sliced thin

1/2 cup onion, finely chopped

1/2 cup crushed Ritz crackers

1/2 cup green bell pepper, finely chopped

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1 large egg, beaten

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon dried mustard

1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic

1 teaspoon salt

Dash of cayenne

Self-rising flour, for dusting

1/2 cup Crisco or lard, for frying

Lemon wedges for serving

Tartar sauce, for serving (optional)



1.  To Make the Crab Cakes:  Pour the crab out on a platter and pick it over for bits of shell.  Scoop the crab into a large bowl and all the ingredients.  Toss with your hands to combine, trying not to break up the crab.  Gently pat the crab into small cakes, handling the crab as little as possible.  Put on a plate, cover, and refrigerate for an hour so the crabs cakes won't fall apart in the pan.


2.  Put some flour on a saucer and flour the cakes on both sides.  Sprinkle a little extra flour on the top and bottom of the cakes and pat it in well.


3.  Set the oven to 200 degrees F.  Melt the Crisco or lard in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  When the fat is ready slowly ease the in the crab cakes, in batches, and cook them until they're golden brown, 6 to 7 minutes on each side.  Remove to paper towels to drain, and keep the first batch warm in the oven while you cook the rest.


4.  Serve the crab cakes right away with lemon wedges and tartar sauce, if using.



Remoulade Sauce - (Makes 1 cup)



1/4 cup tarragon vinegar

2 tablespoons horseradish mustard

1 tablespoon ketchup

1 1/2 teaspoons paprika

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 green onions (scallions), white & firm green parts, minced



1.  Combine the vinegar, mustard, ketchup, paprika, salt, and cayenne in a small bowl.  Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while whisking constantly.  Stir i the green onions.


2.  Cover the remoulade and refrigerate for at least an hour to allow the flavors to develop.  It will keep for a week in the refrigerator.



Buttermilk Battered Pan-Fried Fish Fillets  - (Serves 4)



1 quart buttermilk

1 1/3 lbs. fresh fish fillets (catfish, flounder, trout), cut into serving pieces

1 cup self-rising flour, seasoned with salt, pepper, & cayenne


1 cup cornmeal, seasoned with salt, pepper, & cayenne

1 cup vegetables oil, peanut oil, or lard, or more as needed

1 tablespoon bacon grease or butter

Lemon wedges and tartar sauce, for serving



1.  Pour some buttermilk into a shallow baking dish and add the fish fillets; add more buttermilk as needed to completely cover all the fillets.  Let them rest for half and hour.


2.  Set the oven for 200 degrees F to keep the first batch of fish hot.  Warm a serving platter in the oven.  Have a baking rake set on top of a baking sheet for draining the fish.


3.  Put the seasoned flour (or cornmeal) on a plate or a small platter.  One at a time, shake any extra buttermilk off each fillet and dip it into the flour on both side, being sure it is covered, but not too thickly, then shake off any extra flour and lay the fillets on wax paper.


4.  Heat a heavy skillet at 10-nches wide over medium-high heat.  When it's hot, add the oil or lard to a depth of 1/4 inch, then add the bacon grease or butter.  When the fat is sizzling, drop in half the fish.  Fry until crisp and golden on the bottom, about 3 minutes, or longer for thicker fillets, then turn the pieces, just once, with a long wide spatula and let crisp on the bottom.  Drain on the rack and keep warm on the rack in the oven until all the fish is cooked.  Add more oil or lard as needed to fry the second batch, and make sure it's hot before adding the fish.


5.  Serve on a platter surrounded with lemon wedges, with tartar sauce on the side.



Homemade Tartar Sauce - (Makes 1 1/3 cups)



1 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup finely chopped dill pickles or sweet pickle relish

2 green onions (scallions), white & firm green parts, minced

1 tablespoon snipped fresh dill

Fresh lemon juice to taste

Salt & ground black pepper, to taste

Cayenne or Dijon mustard (optional)



1.  Stir everything except the cayenne or mustard together in a small bowl.  Let it sit for a bit to mellow and then taste it.  You may want to add more lemon juice or some cayenne or Dijon mustard.



Barbecued Shrimp - (Serves 6)



1 1/2 lbs. shell-on jumbo or large shrimp

Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

1 tablespoon ground black pepper, or more to taste

Salt, to taste

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce

3 lemons: 2 juiced, 1 sliced thin

Hot sauce (Texas Pete or Tabasco)

2 teaspoons Creole seasoning

2 sticks (1/2 lb.) butter, sliced

1 large loaf French bread, for serving



1.  Heat the broiler to high and set a rack in the oven so it's 6 or 7 inches away from the heat.


2.  Arrange the shrimp in a flameproof baking dish large enough to hold all of them in one layer.  Drizzle olive over them and turn them over in the oil.  Cover the shrimp thickly with the black pepper; more is better.  Add salt generously, then add the garlic, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, several jolts of ht sauce, and the Creole seasoning.  Arrange the butter slices on top of the shrimp and tuck the lemon slices in around them.


3.  Broil until the shrimp are just cooked through, about 10 minutes.  They should be pink and firm to the touch.  Taste one to be sure they're cooked.


4.  Serve in the baking dish with French bread and a lot of napkins for the shrimp peelers.

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