Happy Ash Wednesday, everyone! Since I'm Catholic and we don't eat meat on Fridays during Lent, I'm going to share some favorite meatless dishes for the next several weeks!
Everybody loves a good ol' church fish fry during Lent. Or at least, most Catholics do! I always loved going down to the Knights of Columbus when I was in high school and eating fried fish, coleslaw, hushpuppies, corn on the cob, biscuits, and homemade pies while listening to stories from way back when told by the old codgers!! So, I figured I'd kick off Lent by sharing the makings of a Southern Fish Fry!! I love Food Network. And I love Southern comfort food. So, of course, I love me some Paula Deen! And when Trisha Yearwood joined Paula on her show, I just thought I'd die, y'all! Well they made one of my favorite southern sides, hushpuppies...but they kicked theirs up with some jalapenos and spicy chili dip. I just had to try them...and as my first foray into deep frying, I was a bit worried... I paired them with Rachael Ray's Barbados Fish Fry and pineapple for a southern fish fry with island flare!
Rachael Ray's Barbados Fish Fry:
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon grated onion
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
1–2 teaspoons chopped fresh scotch bonnet or habanero chile
1 teaspoon finely chopped or grated garlic
1 teaspoon paprika
4 skinless snapper fillets (5 to 6 oz. each)
1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs
1 cup vegetable oil
Lemon wedges, for serving
In a small bowl, combine the lime juice, parsley, onion, thyme, chile, garlic and paprika to form a coarse paste. Pat the fish dry, season with salt, then rub the seasoning over the fillets.
Pour the breadcrumbs into a shallow bowl and beat the eggs in another shallow bowl.
Working with 1 fillet at a time, coat the fish in the breadcrumbs, then in the egg, letting the excess drip off. Dip the fish back in the breadcrumbs.
In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Working in batches, fry the fish, turning once, until golden, 4 to 6 minutes. Season with salt and serve with the lemon wedges.
1 1/2 quarts peanut oil, for frying
1 1/2 cups self-rising cornmeal
1 cup self-rising flour
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 (7-ounce) can diced jalapeno peppers, drained or 3/4 cup fresh jalapenos, seeded and finely diced
1 (15-ounce) can creamed corn
2 large eggs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Sweet and Spicy Chili Sauce, for dipping, optional
Heat the oil to 350 degrees in a deep-fryer or Dutch oven. In a 1-quart mixing bowl, stir the cornmeal, flour, onion, jalapeno, corn, and eggs, until blended. Allow to stand 5 minutes.
Drop the batter by teaspoonfuls into the hot oil. Don’t overcrowd; leave room for the hushpuppies to be turned. Cook the hushpuppies until golden brown, about 3 minutes.
Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Keep the cooked hushpuppies warm in an oven while cooking the remaining batter. Lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste, and transfer them to a serving dish. Serve with Paula Deen’s Sweet and Spicy Chili Sauce, if desired.
Paula Deen's Sweet & Spicy Chili Sauce:
1 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons Thai sweet chili sauce
1 tablespoon garlic-chili sauce
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper flakes
In a small bowl, combine all ingredients and stir well. Cover, and refrigerate until ready to serve.