[RECIPE] Crispy Simmons Catfish with Citrus Wine Sauce
- 4 Simmons catfish fillets
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 2 cups self rising cornmeal mix
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 1 Tbsp Jane’s Crazy salt or your preferred seasoned salt
- 1 Tsp kosher salt
- 2 Tbsp June Bugg Rub spice mix
- 2 cups whole buttermilk
- 2 Tbsp Crystal hot sauce
- Vegetable oil for frying
- 3 strips bacon
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 medium size shallots, finely diced
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 cup seafood stock
- 1 large lemon
- 3 Tbsp butter, cut into small pieces, at room temperature
- 1 cup chopped scallions
- 1 cup finely chopped Italian parsley
- Heat oven to 200 degrees and place a large cookie sheet with an oven safe cooling rack in oven.
- Rinse catfish fillets, pat dry and season heavily with Jane’s Crazy Salt and kosher salt on all sides.
- Prepare to bread the fish by placing buttermilk, flour, and cornmeal in separate plastic zip bags. Add hot sauce to the buttermilk and June Bugg spice mix to the flour. Place fillets in zip plastic bag with the buttermilk and allow to soak for a minimum of thirty minutes (longer, if you prefer).
- Once fillets are finished soaking in buttermilk, place a large, heavy cast iron skillet on burner and fill to depth of one inch with vegetable oil. Turn burner on medium high. While oil is heating, finish breading the fillets.
- Remove fillets from buttermilk. Coat fillets in flour and dust off any excess. Dip flour coated filets in egg one by one and place in the plastic zip bag filled with cornmeal. Shake bag to coat with cornmeal.
- Test oil for correct temperature by sprinkling a very small pinch of flour into the oil. If it immediately bubbles, the oil is hot enough.
- Cook breaded fillets in hot oil taking care not to crowd the pan. Cook in batches if your pan is not large enough to accommodate all fillets at once. Do not move or otherwise disturb the filets for 3-5 minutes once they are placed in the oil. Turn fillets once to cook both sides for a total cooking time of approximately 8-10 minutes depending on the thickness of the fillets. When cooked through, hold in warm oven while you prepare the following sauce recipe.
- Cook bacon in a stainless steel or cast iron skillet. Do not use a nonstick skillet. Allow bacon to cook until crisp, without moving it a great deal. Remove from skillet when crispy and add shallots and garlic to pan. Cook on medium heat until tender and fragrant. Season with salt and fresh pepper. Chop reserved bacon and save for garnish.
- Turn heat to medium high but do not allow garlic to burn. Pour in white wine and scrape brown bits from bottom of the skillet. Allow the wine to reduce until almost all liquid has evaporated.
- Maintaining medium high heat, add the seafood stock and allow to cook until liquid is reduced by half. Once sauce has thickened and looks glossy, add juice from lemon. Whisk thoroughly and remove from heat. Continue whisking and add butter a few pieces at a time until incorporated. Season to taste.
Remove fillets from oven and serve immediately with sauce. Finish with parsley, scallions, a squeeze of lemon and additional fresh black pepper. Top with reserved bacon. This dish goes well with Two Brooks Farm rice products or Delta Grind corn grits. Learn more about our favorite ingredients here.