Our next stop on the 50 states, 50 recipes tour is;
State capital: Montgomery
Largest City: Birmingham
Admission to the Union: December 14th, 1819, 22nd state to join the union
Alabama’s agricultural outputs include poultry and eggs, cattle, plant nursery items, peanuts, cotton, grains such as corn and sorghum, vegetables, milk, soybeans, and peaches. Although known as “The Cotton State”, Alabama ranks between eight and ten in national cotton production, according to various reports, with Texas, Georgia and Mississippi comprising the top three.( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alabama)
Normally I would give you websites to visit for tourism, but due to the recent tragedies in Alabama ya’ll I thought it was more important to share ways to help-
disaster.salvationarmyusa.org, or by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY
My heart, my prayers and my resources go forward ya’ll to those affected by one of the worst storms the South has seen since Katrina! Over 340 people were killed in this disaster, and there are more being counted daily. The one thing that strikes me every time something like this happens is the indomitable spirit of the American people. We’re workin’ hard ya’ll to take care of those affected. We will see the South-especially Alabama rise again, stronger and wiser for the experience they’ve endured. Even if you can’t give a dime, can’t spend a week helpin’ them rebuild, or volunteer with an organization that does help, the power of prayer will always be appreciated. It may not seem like enough, but trust me ya’ll… prayer heals! So before ya’ll make this catfish dish… say a prayer rememberin’ those who’ve lost their lives and those who are still suffering- be grateful for what ya have!
Granny Madison’s Hushpuppies/Catfish batter
catfish filets- about 4-6 medium size
3/4 cup fine cornmeal
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon onion salt
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon Cajun spices (make your own or use store bought)
1 clove garlic finely chopped
2 Tablespoons grated onion
1 egg lightly beaten
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 Tablespoon water
Oil for deep frying
Wash and pat dry catfish filets.
In mixing bowl combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, onion salt, chili powder, and Cajun spices. Add garlic and grated onion. Mix together.
In separate bowl combine egg, buttermilk, and water- (this is optional, but you can soak catfish filets in wet ingredients for at least 2 hours. This helps to keep the batter on the fish a little more it seems.) Dredge catfish filets through egg mixture, then coat with dry ingredients.
Immediately add catfish filets to hot oil about 375 degrees- in frying pan let fry for at least 2-3 minutes, turn and let fry on second side for another 2-3 minutes. Filets should be golden brown on both sides. Drain on paper towels then serve warm.
To make hushpuppies combine excess egg mixture to corn meal mixture, then carefully spoon tablespoonfuls of batter into hot oil. Cook until puffy and lightly golden turning each once or twice to cook evenly. Drain on paper towels then serve warm.
I was worried ya’ll about finding catfish this far north… but my local grocery store carried it. It was nearly $6.50 a pound for frozen, farm raised catfish- which went against my Southern principles. I remember being a young girl and fishin’ with Pappy Madison in the Ozarks catchin’ catfish dinner for the whole family and it didn’t cost us a dime. I had a hard time stomachin’ the cost of the store bought. But the store bought was just fine and kept me from havin‘ to gut, clean and scale the fish myself, however the fresh catfish has a richer taste that can’t be duplicated. Granny Madison’s batter helped, but it wasn’t as good as I remember it and I have to say I miss Granny Madison’s!
I had everything on hand except for the catfish. As I said- it’s expensive this far north and not sure it was worth the price. I don’t imagine free tastes any better for most things- but in this case, free tastes better by far!
Be careful with the hot oil! Cooking and preparation time is less than 10 minutes, so it’s quick and easy. But keep small children out of the kitchen ya’ll when you’re cookin’ with hot oil. And if ya aren’t used to cookin’ with hot oil, keep a box of baking soda nearby for puttin’ out any grease fires. Wear an apron if ya don’t want your clothes ruined by grease that pops up at ya! And above all don’t walk away from it- keep yer eyes on the prize!
Review: scale of 1-5 stars; the more stars the better
Ease of preparation: ***** nothing to it at all!
Cost of ingredients: * it was very expensive for something I don’t believe was as good as the fresh, but it’ll do in a pinch
Taste: **** not as good as Granny Madison’s… but tasty near the same!
Nutrition: ***** low in sodium, sugar and other harmful ingredients and Fish is rich in Omega 3’s, the deep fryin’ does add calories but ya’ll can use a Canola oil to cut back on the fats!
As I said earlier ya’ll… my heart goes out to those struck by tragedy in Alabama. We do what we can, and to honor those affected I hope this recipe will bring them comfort as it does me. Since this recipe brings back so many memories from my misspent youth, it’s hard to shed a tear. I love fishin‘ for catfish, and had I gotten fresh catfish I’m sure it would have tasted as good as Granny Madison’s… but if you’ve never had Granny Madison’s you won’t notice it from a gallopin‘ horse! So until next week when we head to Tennessee, keep those in Alabama and all over the South in your prayers- May all your journeys be safe and your eats be good!