“Everything’s better fried.” That, and “save room for dessert” are two of my favorite food sayings from childhood. My mother used to call me “the bottomless stomach” when I was a kid, as I was always hungry! We’d be happily eating away at lunch and I’d be asking what we’d be having for dinner; at dinner, I’d inquire about breakfast; and so on. You get the idea.
Mom didn’t fry everything and we didn’t always have dessert (though as I recall, we almost always did.) Usually, she’d buy things like fish sticks in frozen packages. My sisters and I would microwave them with slices of Kraft American cheese, the kind that comes individually wrapped, and eat them in sandwiches with lots of ketchup. It was horrible, really, but just remembering it now makes my mouth water.
I wasn’t really thinking of any of this when I made catfish tenders. It is after eating them that it all came to mind. Funny how memory works.
You could undoubtedly serve these as a fish stick alternative to hungry kids. But adults will appreciate them too.
1 lb catfish fillets (about four pieces) cut in half the long way
2 cups panko breadcrumbs
3 tbsp parmesan
1 tbsp Aleppo pepper
Salt and black pepper
Vegetable oil for frying
Rinse and pat dry catfish. Beat eggs together with about 1 tsp salt. Put fish into egg wash and let soak while heating oil in a medium sized pan. You’ll need enough oil to almost cover fish.
Mix breadcrumbs, parmesan, Aleppo pepper, black pepper and some salt together in another dish. When ready to fry, immerse fish in breadcrumb mix so that each piece is evenly and fully covered. Gently place fish into hot oil and let fry for a few minutes on each side. Once golden, remove and let drain on paper towels. I did mine in two batches.
Serve with lemon slices, a dipping sauce of your choice or even ketchup. We had ours with fiery habanero sauce.