I’d venture to say that Independence Day is quite possibly the best opportunity for the American male to wow his friends and family with delicious food. That’s not to say that females do not cook on the 4th, you do! However, today is the day for the macho man to get out there and prove his manliness in the outdoor kitchen. Most will take to the grill for their 4th of July cuisine, but cranking up the fryer may be more your style. After posting about catching the large flathead catfish I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been asked, “Are they good to eat when they get that big?” The short answer to that is, ABSOLUTELY! To me, the flathead catfish is the fillet mignon of the river. It’s not fishy tasting and you don’t have to worry about bones if you clean the fish properly. Here are some tips to cooking the best catfish you’ll ever eat (with apologies to Jerry’s Catfish in Florence, MS.)
Tip A) When preparing your meat, cut out all of the dark red flesh in the meat. This part of the fish, usually down the tail meat, is edible but not the desired meat you want. Also get rid of any silver looking tissue on the meat.
Tip B) Don’t overseason! It won’t take much seasoning to prepare this fish for the fryer. You want to taste the deliciousness of this fish without all of the additives. I use just a little bit of salt, pepper, and Tony Chachere seasoning sprinkled on the fish before rolling it in yellow corn meal. You can use a pre-mix seasoning if you prefer. Zatarain’s makes a pretty good one called “Crispy Southern”.
Tip C) Heat your grease to between 355-365 degrees. If you get it too hot, you’ll burn the fish. If you get it too low, you’ll end up with fish soaked with grease. Don’t overcook your fish. Once they begin to float and brown it’s time to pull them out. Set them on paper towels to dry and cool. Finally, dig in and enjoy the best fish the river has to offer!