Saturday, June 25, 2022

National Catfish Day

When I visit my Cajun family in Louisiana I have Fried Fish as often as possible. And the preferred fish to fry is Catfish. Read on to see my video on how my Mom does it and most Southern cooks, too. 

There is not a lot to this recipe, just coat raw fish with cornmeal then fry it in hot oil. The extras are Cajun Seasoning and Garlic Powder. You could make my Southern Fried Fish with simply seasoned Cornmeal using salt and pepper.

I lived on the Gulf Coast of Texas and everyone fried seafood coated with cornmeal. When we moved to Louisiana, when I started High School, they did the same.

Go to any restaurant, gas station, or grocery with a kitchen in the back and you will often find Fried Catfish on the menu (especially on Fridays.) The crispy crunchy fried fish comes as part of a plate lunch with slow-cooked veggies.

The second best way to have Fried Catfish is in a Louisiana sandwich called a Po-Boy. The sandwich is simply dressed in mayo, lettuce, and tomato and served on French bread (or any crunchy crust and soft interior bread roll.) You definitely want to try one if you are driving through Louisiana. Of course, use my Fried Catfish recipe for this Po-Boy.

Freshwater Catfish are plentiful in Louisiana rivers and bayous. They are fierce fighters and thick-skinned, so they are not easy to prepare for cooking, so locals just buy them at seafood markets and grocers.

The catfish fillets are deboned and skinless and come ready to fry. The pieces are anywhere from three to six inches long, and an inch or so thick.  They are usually farm-raised and mild in taste. When cooked the flesh is firm but flaky, and very moist. 

Catfish is generally a cheaper fish. I don't see it at 99c per pound lately, but regular sales hover between 2 and 3 dollars per pound.

My recipe is the way my Mom orders it on Fish Fridays from her fave local eatery, Cajun Catch. It's piping hot out of the deep fryer with Tarter and Cocktail Sauce on the side and served with Green Beans and Cheesy Mashed Potatoes with a Dinner Roll. By the way, Tarter Sauce is just mayo mixed with pickle relish.

The Swamp Chef casting for catfish.

While Fried Chicken is coated with flour, most Southern Fried Fish is coated with cornmeal. Sometimes it's a combination of half flour and half cornmeal. 

You'll want to spice up the coating by mixing in salt, pepper, and a favorite Cajun Seasonings or Old Bay, and pungent Garlic Powder. If you can't get these season mixes, then make your own with a bit of garlic powder, cayenne, and paprika or red chili powder.

Typically dried spices for cornmeal or flour when frying.

I've made a simple mix with just salt, pepper, garlic powder, and cornmeal - that's enough for a lot of flavor.

I've met some who do not like cornmeal because it's a bit crumbly and the flavor's just not for them. Try a half mix of flour and cornmeal if that is the case, you might get away with it. 

You do need an inch or so of oil to fry the coated fish in. I use generic vegetable oil, but you can use any favorite oil. Just make sure the oil is hot when you add the fish so there is less oil absorption --  it's easy enough to drain the fish once it's fried. I place mine on a wire rack, or you can pat dry with paper napkins.

Just fry until the cornmeal coating is slightly browned. It may be hard to tell as cornmeal is usually yellow, so it doesn't brown as much as white flour. It's easy enough to break off a piece of frying catfish to test - the flesh should be firm and flakey when done.

With medium/hot oil it should take about 5 minutes to fry cornmeal-coated fish, depending on the size of the fillets. 

Here are some of the best types of seafood to fry: Catfish, Tilapia, Alaskan Cod, Halibut, Striped Bass, Trout, Perch, Shrimp, and Oysters. Try out any local fish you prefer.

My easy Southern Fried Fish recipe is quick to do and so good you will want to invite the neighbors over for a Fish Fry patio party. Best to serve with a simple Coleslaw or Potato Salad (click on names for my recipes) and a cold brew.

Fried Fish - Video

Play it here, video runs 3 minutes, 29 seconds.

My YouTube video link for viewing or embedding, just click here.


  • 10 to 16 ounces of Catfish fillets - skin removed and deboned. The fillets are cut into about 3 to 6-inch pieces.
  • 1 cup Cornmeal - okay to make the mix of half cornmeal and half flour.
  • 1 tablespoon Creole Seasoning - Old Bay seasoning is easy to find as well. A homemade seasoning is a tablespoon each of garlic powder and paprika or red chili powder.
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • Black Pepper to taste - about a teaspoon.  Salt is optional.
  • Vegetable Oil - enough to fill the frying pan to an inch deep. About a cup.


Catfish fillets should be thawed and ready to cook. Add oil to a frying pan over medium/high heat.

Prepare coating. Add cornmeal to a wide plate. Mix in garlic powder and Creole Seasoning. I like a teaspoon of black pepper too. Salt is optional as Cajun Seasoning has plenty.

When oil is hot it's time to coat the fish in cornmeal mixture. Add a few pieces of catfish and coat all sides with cornmeal mix. The cornmeal mix should stick to the fish fillets. Press fillets into the mixture if necessary.

Add cornmeal-coated fish fillets to the hot oil. Be careful as the oil may splatter at first. The typical temperature of oil is around 350 degrees hot. I just go by looks, if the fish bubbbles when it hits the oil then that's hot enough.  

Allow fish to brown on one side for two to three minutes before turning to cook the other side. Don't move the fish when first added to hot oil or the coating will pull off. If you use a deep fryer this is not a problem.

Total frying time should not be much more than 5 minutes if the oil is hot enough. It's okay to pull out a piece of fish to check for doneness. The fried fish should be firm and flakey when pulled apart. It should still be moist as well. 

You might not be able to fry all the fish at once so don't overcrowd the frying pan. As a batch of fish finished frying remove and place on a paper towel or a wire rack to drain excess oil.

That's it. Allow to cool for a minute then dig in. I make a simple Tarter Sauce to go with Fried Fish. Just mix a quarter cup of mayo with a tablespoon of pickle relish.

I like to serve it with Coleslaw or Potato Salad, just click on the names to be directed to my recipes. 

For National Catfish Day try it fried, just the way this Cheap$kate Internet Chef likes it.

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Father's Day Recipes

I know what guys like to eat, I know what guys want. So get out your notebook, or bookmark this page for a slew of recipes that Fathers everywhere will enjoy.

My own dad would make us kids a breakfast of Biscuits & Country Gravy with Sausage. Here is a simple version where I substitute homemade Buttermilk Biscuits with plain old canned Biscuits, and the ingredients come from my local Dollar Tree.

Hey, if you're feeling ambitious then look up a recipe and make your own Buttermilk Biscuits, or go the easy route and watch my video below.

For a quick breakfast Dad would often have a glass of buttermilk with crumbled leftover cornbread...hmmm I couldn't get behind that as a kid.

My dad, Billy Robinson

My Dad was from Texas and there it's all about smoked meat. I have an easy recipe that uses a quick gas grill smoking technique. No Southern Dad would refuse Easy Pulled Pork on a Bun with sliced onion, pickle, and a lot of BBQ sauce. Check out below how I do it the cheap$kate way with inexpensive pork shoulder.

I use the same quick gas grill smoking method for a rack of tender Smoked BBQ Ribs. Again I cook with cheap pork, but this recipe can be done with more expensive meaty beef ribs, too.

I've had my father-in-law, Bob, over for lunch and dinner. He's a real meat and potatoes type of guy. So what's on the menu for his Father's Day? First off, I would make him an Old World Anglo-Saxon, hearty Shepherd's Pie (recipe here.)

This most British of dishes is literally made with meat and potatoes. It's a one-pot meal and simplicity defined. Just make your favorite mashed potatoes (or follow my recipe) and spread it over a beefy, tomato paste, and Worcestershire-flavored stew, which also includes: ground meat (I used cheap ground turkey,) onion, carrots, and peas. And you finish it off in the oven until piping hot. In my video recipe above a cheap beef shank is used.

After that meal your Dad may be put in a food coma, so make sure he has his favorite spot on the couch ready, including a foot cushion and TV remote controller.

If Dad is hogging the TV remote today for his fave baseball game then set out all the Hot Dog condiment extras. How does he like his Hot Dog? Plain with Mustard and Relish, Chili, Sauerkraut, and even Coleslaw are some of the toppings I would serve. Click on any name above to see how I do it. Here's a tip, try steaming hot dog buns for a minute after the weiners are done -- super yummy!

I bet your Dad would love my favorite sandwiches of late, a Rachel and a Reuben, both made with Corned Beef or Pastrami. Both also have Russian Dressing (mayo + ketchup), Swiss Cheese, and Rye Bread. The difference is a  Rachel has Coleslaw, and Reuben has Sauerkraut. Included in my recipe links is an easy Corned Beef and Pastrami recipe, so dig in!

Rachel Sandwich

Reuben Sandwich

Is your guy a meat and potatoes type? I like to broil a Ribeye Steak & Potatoes. Nothing to it just watch them brown and remove them from the oven when done to your liking. I like BBQ sauce on my broiled steak.

For more meaty meals to serve your Dad (or Husband) just click on any of the following recipes: Chicken Satay with Peanut SauceSausage and Sauerkraut with BeerPulled PorkChicken Fried Steak & GravyHomemade Deli PastramiChicken StroganoffRoast Cuban PorkMeatloafCarnitas (Mexican-style pork,) Baked Lasagna with Ground ChickenSweet, and Sour PorkMint Roasted ChickenSteak Carne AsadaPork Bourguignon, and BBQ Chicken.

My Louisiana niece, Candyse, is a mother to Ava. You've seen Candyse in a couple of my Mom's cooking videos. Ava's dad is Chef Tony. He's the face (creating a bunch of cooking videos) and the main chef for BBQ Guys. When I asked him what Cajun dish he wanted to cook for this blog, he chose a classic Cajun dish, Crawfish Etouffee (written recipe here.) Check out the talented Chef Tony in action in my video below.

Dad's definitely like seafood, so give Chef Tony's rich flavorful stew a try for one of the main men in your life. Other seafood entrees I would recommend are (click on any name to see): Fish and ChipsScallop RollsFish Tacos, Fish Veracruz, a rich Portabella Crab RockefellerCoconut Crusted Fish & Mango SalsaScallops and Snow Peas Stir Fryand Salmon Olympia.

My sister Brenda is married to Rich and he is the Dad to 2 of my nephews, who've put many hours at the grill in various Louisiana restaurants. I always have a good time making cooking videos with them whenever I visit Cajun country, like Chef Zakk's Blackened Fish and Sweet Potato Hash right here.

My oldest nephew, Chef Matt, has a nickname for me.

Click on the following recipe names if you would like to cook a Cajun-inspired meal for Father's Day, including Zakk's Cajun Style Pasta Primavera and Blackened Fish with Sweet Potato HashMom's Chicken & Andouille Sausage Gumbo and JambalayaMatt's Alligator Po'Boy Sandwich, and Shrimp and Grits.

If your Dad (or Husband) likes it raw then I have the perfect recipes for you, my Sushi Video Series, which includes a Spicy Tuna Handroll and Nigiri Tuna Sushi (but if he's squeamish of raw fish, I have a colorful California Roll made with cooked krab, here.)

I break it all down for you with easy-to-follow sushi rolling GIF illustrations and a Sushi Rice recipe as well. Click here to get started or click on any recipe name above.

I worked with a vegan Dad. We're Facebook friends so I am enjoying his latest posts featuring his high school daughter who just graduated. She even once posted about making a Mushroom Risotto for his birthday. Well, I don't know her recipe, but if it's good enough for her Pops then is good enough for all my Dad blog readers - click here to see my own Mushroom Risotto recipe.

I like to cook with mushrooms as you can see by all the following recipes - go ahead and click on one: Mushroom Nigiri SushiMushroom Soup, a Portabella Mushroom & Bell Pepper Burger, and my Portabella Mushroom Fries video below.

Here are some other vegetarian dishes your noshing Husband, Dad or Grandad will enjoy, so click on any following recipe name: Denise's Eggplant BurgerBorschtBlack Bean, and Corn SaladBaba GanoushCarrot Nigiri SushiPasta SaladStuffed TomatoesSaag Paneer (creamy India-style spinach,) FalafelSteamed ArtichokeMs Patti's Red Beans and Rice, Eggplant Parmesan,  Braised Romaine Lettuce HeartsPasta with Cashews & GarlicVeggies in Cream with PastaTomato and Basil BruschettaEggplant HummusSnow Peas with Tofu and Ramen Stir FryVeggie Curry with LentilsBaked Pasta with Califlower and CheeseVeggie TempuraFrench Onion Soup, and Pear & Spinach Salad with a Creamy Herb Dressing.

If your Dad has a sweet tooth and his fave dessert is a pie, then watch my Mom's Homemade Cherry Pie recipe video below and give it a go.

And finally, if you are an LA local (or just visiting,) and looking for a restaurant to take your Father to, then check out my ongoing nighttime restaurant video series. You'll get menu highlights of a dozen or so restaurants in each of my unique Restaurant Nocturnes videos. I go out at night to bring you a culinary cross-section of dining, both high-end and low. So just play the video below to see my latest compilation, Restaurant Nocturnes XIII. And click here, then scroll down to the end of the post to activate links to all the other ones (thirteen videos so far.)

Happy Father's Day to all the Dads out there!
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