Monday, November 10, 2014

Fish Fingers and Custard

In recognition of the recent season finale of Doctor Who, I prepared a fish dish.

Fish fingers and custard: what we are NOT preparing with those lovely frozen flounder filets I picked up for $4.48 a pound at the Walmart grocery, TARDIS sauce notwithstanding:

And here is what we are preparing: pecan and cornmeal crusted flounder filets.

This is extraordinarily easy, and can be served for dinner during the work week.  You don't even have to set up a breading station.  The only pre-planning necessary is to place the bag of fish fillets in the refrigerator the evening before, so they will be completely defrosted when you are ready to cook them.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Put 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of olive oil into a 9 x 13 (or larger) baking dish and place in the preheating oven while you bread the fish.  Repeat with a second baking dish.  Check to make sure the butter doesn't burn.

Combine a cup of coarse cornmeal and a cup of pecan meal.  Season with a tablespoon of Old Bay Seasoning and use a fork to disperse it throughout.  Remove the fillets from their individual wrappers, but do not pat dry.  Bread the fillets on both sides in the cornmeal mixture, patting the crumbs onto the fish to help it adhere.  Remove the baking pan from the oven and place half the breaded fillets carefully into the melted butter/oil mixture.  Place in the oven and repeat with the second pan and remaining breaded fillets.  Bake until the breading is toasty, then with a spatula carefully turn each fillet.  Bake until the second side is also toasty and the fish flakes easily.  Don't  let the fish dry out.  Serve immediately with TARDIS tartar sauce.

And here's a variation I prepared and posted a couple of years ago:

Catfish nuggets are odd shaped pieces of catfish, ends and such, that are delicious but esthetically displeasing.  No neat fillets there.  At $3.99 a pound, I had to come up with something tasty.  And I did, using some of the pecan meal I picked up on our last trip to Atlanta.

Pecan meal is just finely chopped pecans, so you can certainly chop 'em yourself, but I like buying the meal because it is just the right consistency for breading fish and chicken.  For a pound of fish, all I do is  take some of the pecan meal and season it with garlic salt, pepper, dried thyme and paprika.  I then melt a stick of butter, and dip each piece of catfish in the butter, then the seasoned pecan meal.  Lightly butter a baking pan or dish, and place the prepared fish on it, single layer.  Bake in a 350 degree oven until the pecans are toasty, then carefully turn each piece over and return to the oven until that side has toasty nuts as well.  Yes, I really wrote that.

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