- 5 lbs. fresh catfish fillets
- 1/2 gallon of distilled water
- 1 pint of lemon juice, from concentrate
- 1/4 cup sea salt
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup yellow cornmeal
- peanut or canola oil
Dissolve the lemon juice and sea salt in the distilled water using a non-reactive container and soak the catfish fillets for no more than 1 hour.
Test the lemon flavor by using part of one fillet. Cut a few nuggets and dredge the wet morsels in your seasoned flour/cornbread mixture then deep fry at 350 degrees F. until golden brown. By testing the first few nuggets for tartness, you will be able to gauge the strength of the lemon flavor in your fish and make the necessary adjustments.
If the first 'test' batch is a little too tart for your particular taste, you can lightly rinse the rest of the fillets off in clear running tap water for a few seconds to further dilute the lemony flavor. (Don't over rinse.)
The amount of oil you use to cook your nuggets will depend on you. You will need at least enough oil to fry one side of the nuggets at the time -- which also means you will have to turn them over at the proper time to equally fry them on the other side (around 3 to 4 minutes per side).
I personally like the taste of peanut oil so I use it when I can. During a recent event I used an electric 2 gallon deep-fryer and cooked the catfish nuggets at the stated temperature until they floated to the top. That is when I know they are thoroughly cooked.
Last weekend my friends and I cooked up about 40 lbs. of fresh catfish fillets using a couple of different methods and techniques, including this one.
The lemon-flavored nuggets were the most popular. By preparing the nuggets this way I didn't have to use 'lemon-pepper' to season the fish -- just lemon flavor without the pepper. It is especially convenient for those folks who are spice intolerant. And those who do love spices can add their own after the nuggets are fried. Everyone at the dinner table becomes a winner.
You should try this simple way of preparing your next batch of fish. These Lemony Fried Catfish Nuggets will certainly become a big hit at your next party.
Bon Appetit! Ahheee!!