6-8 fresh catfish fillets (4-6 oz. Average)
1 large bottle French’s Yellow Mustard
½ Bottle Frank Davis Garlic Cayenne Hot Sauce
4 cups Frank Davis Gourmet Fish Fry
64 oz. Vegetable or Canola oil for frying
1 lb. green onions cut into rings
First, you start off by preparing the fish for cooking—wash each fillet, cut it into chunks, dry the chunks off, and get ready to begin dredging them in a mixture of mustard and hot sauce. I suggest you place the mustard and the hot sauce in a disposable aluminum pan.
When the two ingredients are totally combined, partially fill a second aluminum pan with the fish fry and set the two pans right next to each other. In the meantime, take a third aluminum pan and position it next to the one containing the fish fry. Then finally, take a fourth aluminum pan and line it with absorbent paper towels—this will be the pan you drain the fish and serve the pieces from.
Now before all this prep gets going, take a deep sided heavy fry pan, place it on the stovetop, and fill it about a third of the way up with the oil. Then turn on the fire and heat the oil to about 375 degrees.
When you’re ready to cook, take the fish chunks, dredge them a few pieces at a time in the mustard/hot sauce mixture, then coat them thoroughly in the fish fry, and then drop the pieces into the hot oil. It will quickly become apparent that the mustard “dredge” will create a heavy coating on the fish and will serve to keep it from falling off during frying.
At this point, fry the pieces for a couple of minutes—flipping them over once—until they turn a rich golden brown and turn super crispy. If you’re concerned that the mustard will yield a taste you won’t like, dismiss that thought: you never taste the mustard when you fry fish this way. And the full half-bottle of hot sauce isn’t detected either.
When the fish pieces are done, remove them from the hot oil with a slotted spoon and place them in the paper towel-lined pan to drain away any excess oil. But I recommend that you eat the fish while it is super hot! It’s the only way to get the full effect of the flavor the mustard and hot sauce creates.
Serve the pieces right out of the fryer, covered with handfuls of sliced green onions, accompanied by a square or two of oven-crusted grits.
To make the Oven Crusted Grits, you will need:
8 cups bottled water
3/4 tsp. Sea or kosher salt
2 cups Quaker Old Fashioned Grits
1 stick sweet cream butter
1 full bunch fresh green onions, thinly sliced, as desired
1 cup Velveeta processed cheese shreds
1 cup shredded Pepper Jack cheese for topping
First, bring the 8 cups of water to a rapid boil in a 5 qt. Heavy Dutch oven (go ahead and add the salt at the outset before stirring in the grits).
Then, in a rapidly swirling motion, gently add in the grits (but stir briskly enough to keep them from clumping in the pot). This is also the time to stir in the butter. At this point, prepare the grits according to package directions and simmer them over low heat for about 5 to 7 minutes (still stirring occasionally) until cooked.
When they’re done fold in the green onions and the Velveeta cheese, until the cheese fully melts and is incorporated into the grits. Now pour the hot grits out into a well-greased disposable aluminum baking pan (or as many pans as it takes, depending upon the size of the pans you have).
Then with a coarse-cut grater in one hand and the Pepper Jack cheese block in the other, shred the jack evenly over the top of the hot grits to form a heavy cap. When the jack cheese fully melts, allow the full pan of grits to cool to room temperature and firm up. In fact, once cooled to room temp you can place them into the refrigerator or cooler until the fried fish are ready.
Then, just before it’s time to eat, place the pan of grits under a 550-degree broiler element until a lightly browned crust forms. All that’s left is to cut a square or two from the pan, place them on a heated dinner plate, and serve a plate of hot fried fish alongside as a truly Southern home cooked favorite.
1. The pan of grits can be cooked in advance and kept covered in the refrigerator until ready to serve as a side-dish.
2. If you’d prefer to “toast” the grits prior to service, instead of broiling them in the oven, place the squares into a hot, Teflon-coated skillet and brown on both sides (flipping just once) until ready to eat.
3. The fish can be fried at home and brought to the parades to be eaten “warm.” Or they can be fried at the parades, using one of those portable emergency propane cooktops. Or they can be fried back at home after the parades to provide a “hot” evening meal following a full day of “junk food.”
4. Oh—and my Mom and her friends say they even like fried fish ice cold the next day, right from the fridge! I gotta try dat!