About once or twice a year, I open my freezer to find…that I have trouble closing it again.
This occurrence doesn’t happen on a strict schedule or anything, but it seems I have a packrat sort of mentality when it comes to frozen goods. I’ll find some great steaks on special, and I’ll buy some–stick them in the freezer, “for later.” Or I’ll find some short ribs, get a sudden hankering for braised short ribs, change my mind once I get home, and stick THEM in the freezer, “for later.” Same goes with chicken, with fish, with fresh pasta, and other frozen goods.
Until, one day, I have real trouble closing that freezer door. It takes a good amount of readjusting the contents and pushing on the door with my knee to get the magnetic strip to stick. Why I never learn my lesson, I do not know. But then I go on a frenzy eating everything out of our freezer, refusing to buy any more meat or frozen goods until that freezer is empty! Eventually, that “for later” timeframe is NOW!
Most recently, I took some catfish and chicken breasts out of that fridge to thaw. I didn’t have a particular idea of how I would eat them, but necessity breeds invention, doesn’t it?
And so, “Fried-day” was born. I had a sudden brainstorm to FRY all of the items and make chicken schnitzel, fried catifsh, as well as fry some cauliflower…and make some hush puppies!
You’ll want to fry the items in a particular order–most importantly, the catfish last (otherwise everything will have a fishy taste). I fried them in the following order: hush puppies, cauliflower, chicken schnitzel, and then catfish.
Organizing is pretty easy–Prep the chicken first–pound the breasts until they’re about 1/4 inch thick, squeeze some lemon juice on them. Dip them in flour, egg, and then breadcrumbs, and set aside before frying. (The full chicken schnitzel recipe is here).
For the cauliflower–blanch the florets. Then shake them in a bag with matzo ball mix (that’s my version of “semi-homemade”). They’re ready to fry, too.
For the catfish (and you can use either corn meal or flour–but we prefer flour): Cut the fillets into about 3-4 pieces. Combine some flour, baking powder, and Lawry’s seasoned salt. Beat a few eggs in a separate bowl. Keep the flour and egg in separate bowls. Dip the catfish pieces in the flour mixture, then the egg, then back into the flour mixture. Set aside before frying.
The hush puppy recipe is below–and you’ll want to form them into balls right before putting them in the oil, so you’ll want to start frying them first.
What you end up with is a tasty pile of fried goods! And that’s usually a great thing.
The hush puppies (if you’ve never had them, they’re fried corn meal balls–but much more delicious than that sounds) couple well with ranch dressing if you’re someone who needs to dip them into something. The fried cauliflower, in our household, disappears like lightning–it is SO delicious cooked this way. And the schnitzel and catfish get nibbled on throughout the day, whether on their own, or made into a sandwich with pita, hot sauce, and hummus.
Recipe for hush puppies follows after the jump…
Recipe for Hush Puppies
1 cup corn meal (you can make this 3/4 cup corn meal, 1/4 cup flour if you like, for a fluffier hush puppy)
1/2 tsp baking powder
Salt (Lawry’s seasoning salt if you have it)
dash of sugar
1/2 cup milk or buttermilk
2 tbsp minced onion
Sift the dry ingredients together. Mix the onion, egg, and milk together. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Form into small balls and fry in 350F oil until golden brown all over.