Wild Food: Catfish and Chips

Last year, Matt discovered the joys of fishing for catfish. We didn’t go noodling or anything, but some coworkers of mine recommended a nearby marsh/lake for this activity. One of them had landed a 35 pound cat. I’d fished for catfish before when I was younger, and people back by home regularly pulled large channel catfish out of the Vermilion and Illinois rivers (some up to 6 feet in length). They put up a terrific fight, and I like them deep fried myself.

20lb catfish.

20lb catfish.

One night we each caught a big catfish. I’m not sure whether this was mine or Matt’s, but they were both around 20 lbs. We filleted them up, and stuck them in the freezer.

Where else would you put catfish but the sink?

Where else would you put catfish but the sink?

 

Catfish fillet

Catfish fillet

I cut this one into strips. I season my deep fried things under the batter. These got a quick rubdown with Old Bay, lemon juice, and some garlic.

It requires getting your hands dirty, but I clean animals on the regular, and once made brioche without a stand mixer. I'm fine with it.

It requires getting your hands dirty, but I clean animals on the regular, and once made brioche without a stand mixer. I’m fine with it.

Then I mixed up the batter. This being Wisconsin, we’ve always got beer on hand. Matt has a penchant for old man beer, so Pabst it was.

DSCF4998

I mixed a bottle of room temp PBR with about a cup and a half of flour. I shook in a little pepper and Old Bay for good measure, and stirred it up.

I go for slightly thinner than pancake batter.

I go for slightly thinner than pancake batter.

Then I put the oil on to heat. I always use my deep frying/candy thermometer. It’s gotten me through a lot.

Deep fried chicken, deep fried catfish, deep fried shrimp, divinity, caramel, fudge, peppermint bark, peanut brittle, maple candy...

Deep fried chicken, deep fried catfish, deep fried shrimp, divinity, caramel, fudge, peppermint bark, peanut brittle, maple candy…

While that heated, I took a page from my favorite Pitmasters, and procured a lovely beverage.

Door County's Finest Blackberry Wine

Door County’s Finest Blackberry Wine

I also sliced up some potatoes, real thin.

Pretty thin, at least.

Pretty thin, at least.

Once the oil reached temperature, I started putting in chips and battered fish alike.

Right between Fish and Potatoes, as the cold fish strips would drop the oil temp significantly.

Right between Fish and Potatoes, as the cold fish strips would drop the oil temp significantly.

Boilin' Oil

Boilin’ Oil

I fried things until they were a nice, deep, golden brown to ensure both doneness and crispiness. I whipped up some quick tartar sauce (it’s just mayo, sweet pickle relish, and lemon juice), shook Old Bay and apple cider vinegar on my chips, and dinner was served.

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12 thoughts on “Wild Food: Catfish and Chips

  1. Wow – they are GIANTS! So pleased you caught them yourselves :). I’ve enjoyed catfish but mostly at restaurants and mostly blackened. Hope you watched out about the kind of frying oil you used – most are very bad because of too much omega 6 – almost cancels the goodness of the fish (health-wise, I’m talking). Haven’t posted about oil yet, but hope to do that soon πŸ™‚

    • This was just some canola oil I had lying around. I rarely deep fry things, and I don’t eat much deep fried stuff as it is. I typically worry more about limiting our intake of wild fish anyway. We aren’t supposed to have more than a couple a month, sadly.

      • Although I haven’t finished my research canola is decent from a stability point of view and Its ratio of Omega 6 to 3 is also much better than average. I think a lot pf people don’t like this particular oil because its been genetically modified. Hey, you gotta eat something…

  2. There is no better eating than catfish that is freshly caught that very day you eat them. I like mine cooked in my grandmothers old cast iron skillet that she left me. Something about just makes them ole catfish taste a little better. Maybe it is just thinking of her while they are cooking. One thing she taught me about cooking fish is to always rub your spices in the flesh with your hands before you dip them in batter. The batter will seal in the spices in the meat leaving a awesome taste.

    • Sadly, these weren’t quite so fresh πŸ˜› We haven’t been able to get out, as our boat trailer still has a bum tire. Hopefully soon, though.

    • The big cats put up a great fight. We were snapping line left and right, until we switched to heavy test braided line and metal leaders. However, I’m trying to curb Matt’s pole collection . We’re up to 16 now. I’m not so sure I want to have him look at those reels >.<. We spend enough at Gander Mountain.

  3. Pingback: A Slow Weekend Around These Parts. | Play Outdoors

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