Just because I’m from the Northwest catfish does not mean that I can’t make a good old fashioned Po-Boy out of them. Well, actually “old fashioned” might be the wrong choice of words. I am going to make a Northwest Style Po-Boy – rustic bread, farmstead pickles, Asian spicy cabbage slaw with blue berry vinegar. Some will call this sacrilege; I call it “regionalization”. Call this sandwich a Po- Boy or not it WILL still taste good.
I like to eat the medium sized catfish, 3-4 pounders, because they are big enough to get meat off of yet not so old I have to worry about contamination. The Po-Boy is simple, in all honesty, crispy fish on soft bread with mayo, pickles and some lettuce.
Fried Cat Fish
I have refused to buy one of those little baby deep fryers for my house over the years out of health concerns. I LOVE fried food and as a chef eat plenty of it at work. When given the opportunity at home I know I would consume even more fried goodness (bumping me a few pant sizes at the same time). To counter the “no fryer” rule I just make a more dangerous version out of a cast iron skillet. Smart? No.
1 Pound catfish fillet, cut into 2 inch strips
1 cup milk
1 large egg
1 cup yellow corn meal
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon fresh cracked black pepper
Soak the catfish in milk a few moments or up to 24 hours (some claim that this will “lessen” the mud flavor of the fish, I not exactly sure…never tested it). When ready to fry beat egg in a small bowl until frothy. Mix cornmeal, flour, cayenne and black pepper together in a different bowl. Take milk wet fish and add them to the corn meal bowl, a few at a time. Set them on a plate in a single layer. Next add the dipped fish to the egg mix and back into the cornmeal mix, double coating the fish. Make sure to press the fish into the dry mix to get some extra adherence. Place fish back on plate. Repeat until all the fish is double dipped.
Fry the fish, for about 3-4 minutes, in 350 degree oil or until they are crispy and cooked through. Reserve for the sandwich.
12 oz package of cabbage and carrot mix
1/4 cup ranch dressing
1 tablespoon Blueberry (Huckleberry is better) vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon Siracha Hot Sauce
Salt and Pepper
In a small bowl combine the ranch, blueberry vinegar, honey and siracha. Next add the cabbage and carrots until the “slaw” is a wet as you like it. It might not be the whole 12 oz bag. Adjust seasoning with salt a pepper.
Bringing it Home
I like to use a good grainy hoagie roll for this sandwich but the traditional white/sourdough varieties work equally as well. Split the hoagie and toast if you like. Then add the fish and top with the slaw. Add some pickles that your newly gardening neighbor gave you and you got a grubbin’ Po-Boy.