Catfish – The Famed freshwater fish with sweet, hearty, white flesh is considered to be a “Southern Delicacy” in many back-woods kitchens.

However, you decided to fillet it, slice it, or cook it – catfish is always a welcome dinner meal.

Our families are not overly picky eaters. But, being mothers we strive to cook up healthy meals in a quick and easy fashion that the entire family will enjoy. Today, we bring to you a quick and easy family favorite – Classic Pan Fried Catfish with tasty “Creamy Alfredo Tire Track Pasta (aka – Rotini Pasta), and caramelized vegetables.

Classic Pan Fried Catfish

Catfish Frying Tips

It’s best when frying catfish that you make sure to choose a cooking oil with a high smoke point (400 degrees F and higher) Such as, Peanut Oil. *Note – see a full list of high smoke point cooking oils at the end of this recipe.

Remove as much of the excess moisture from your catfish fillets by using a small kitchen towel and lightly pressing on meat to extract some of the moisture (lightly press.)

Kitchen Tools You’ll Need

  • Medium or Large Deep Cast-Iron Skillet – Using a Medium or Large Skillet will help to keep some of the hot oil from popping out and getting on to your skin.
  • Medium Sauce Pan
  • Metal or Heat Resistant Spatula
  • Wooden Cooking Spoon or Heat Resistant Slotted Spoon
  • Pasta Strainer
  • Oven Safe Steel Rectangular Cake Pan or Baking Dish
  • Wire Rack
  • Deep-fat thermometer
  • Aluminum foil

Cooking the Catfish

Pan Frying Catfish Fillets - Hunting Magazine
Photo by Teresa Terry

In the skillet with the oil temperature ready for cooking – gently place several pieces of catfish fillet into the hot oil – Salt & Pepper during this process. Make sure not to overcrowd the skillet with fish. It’s always best to fry fishing in small batches of  two – four fillets at a time (largely depending on length and thickness.)

Cook each fillet until fully cooked and golden brown on both sides. Catfish roughly takes about 10 mins of cook time per inch of fillet thickness (now, this is only a rule of thumb) Your fully cooked fish should be white and flaky on the inside with a good amount of moisture sealed into the cooked fillet.

After cooking each batch of fish; make sure to allow time for the cooking oil to return to proper temperature before added the next batch of fillets to the oil. You can check the oil temperature by using a deep-fat thermometer. The cooking oil should be between 350 and 375 degrees F for cooking each batch of fish fillets. If the oil temperature is to low and you try to cooking the fish fillets they become greasy and oily – so cooking with the proper temperature is a critical process.

Quickly, remove each batch of fried fish from skillet with your wide, slotted, or curved spatula.

To keep your cooking fish fillets warm, while finishing the entire cooking process – place your fried catfish on a small wire-rack that’s positioned inside of an aluminum foil-lined pan, and place the entire pan into your oven set at 250º degree. For moist fillets, feel free to cover the pan with aluminum foil. For a crisp fillet, do not cover the pan and leave the fillets exposed to the warm oven air.

Cooking the Pasta

How-to Cook Rotini Pasta Noodles - Hunting MagazineIn a separate saucepan add several cups of water, a tablespoon or two of standard vegetable oil, a dash of salt; bring this water mixture to boil; add your Tire Track Pasta (aka – Rotini Pasta) cooking until the pasta is fully cooked.

Once the pasta is fully cooked, drain off water and return to the same pan; over medium heat on the stove top, add a generous amount of Creamy Alfredo Sauce; be sure that the pasta is completely covered and that you can see a fair amount of sauce in the bottom of the pan; warm this mixture – stirring occasionally until completed heated thoroughly. Keep on the stove over keep-warm temperature setting.

Cooking the Veggies

How-to Cook and Fry Fresh Vegetables - Hunting MagazineIn a non-stick cooking skillet over medium heat on the stove-top – add to the skillet two – three tablespoons of butter; add to this your vegetables: Brussel Sprouts, Cauliflower, and Chopped Onion; cook and stir regularly until the veggies are fully cooked and have a nice caramelized look to them. Once, the veggie mixture is fully cooked remove from heat and cover to keep warm.

Plate and Enjoy

Classic Pan Fried Catfish - Hunting Magazine
Photo by Teresa Terry

Now that all the elements – Fish, Pasta, and Veggies are fully cooked; plate your items accordingly and serve; Each person can season their plate to taste with Italian Seasoning (for pasta), Salt & Pepper (all food), and Chili Powder (for Veggies), eat and enjoy!

*High Smoke Point Cooking Oils List – Avocado oil, Almond oil, Canola oil, Extra virgin olive oil, Grapeseed oil, Light olive oil, Peanut oil, Safflower oil, and Sunflower oil.

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