Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Healthy Homage to Southern Cooking

Most food bloggers are not only information providers, most of us are huge consumers. Like everyone, I have  blogs I absolutely love to read. One of those is Drick's Rambling Cafe. Drick writes about great southern recipes from around Mobile Bay, including Gulf Coast seafood, Creole, Cajun and Mexican. All his recipes look absolutely wonderful. But, as is often the case in Southern cooking, many were higher in fat and calories than the dishes I normally. do. 

Recently, he posted a recipe for "Southern Oven-Fried Catfish" that looked absolutely fantastic. It also got me thinking. "Self," I said, "didn't I set out to take food I love and make it healthier while trying to retain or even improve on the flavor of the original?"

"Yes," I answered to myself. "Well, then do it!"

I started with Drick's recipe for catfish and thought about some of my other favorite Southern dishes. Mashed sweet potatoes, those wonderful  green beans with bacon, and corn bread all came to mind. So, this is my homage to Southern cooking. 

We'll start today with my version of Drick's Oven-Fried Catfish and I'll post the others in coming days. For the fish, I substituted low-fat buttermilk, reduced the salt and used Hungarian Paprika, which I find to be more flavorful than the generic paprika. It can be found in many groceries and international food markets. The fish was absolutely delicious! The coating had a fantastic crunch and a savory flavor. The fish was flaky with a creamy flavor that had just a hint of the mustard from the marinade. Each fillet worked out to only 309 calories with 13 grams of fat and 1 of fiber.

Try it with some of my jalapeƱo tartar sauce

I used the same technique on some chicken for our son and it was just as good. We'll be using this on other dishes in the future.

Let's eat!

Oven-Fried Catfish
Makes 4 servings
4 6-ounce catfish fillets
1/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon brown mustard
1/4 cup corn meal
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Hungarian paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Whisk together buttermilk, vinegar and mustard in a glass baking dish or bowl. Add fish and coat thoroughly. Cover and let marinade at least one hour.

Preheat greased broiler pan and broiler to medium-high.

Combine cornmeal and a spices in a large bowl. Remove fish individually from marinade, letting the excess drip off. Dredge fish through cornmeal mixture, ensuring each piece is completely covered. Place fish on broiler pan and broil, 4-5 inches from heat element, for about 4 minutes per side. When the thickest part of the fish is flaky, remove and serve.

Deal of the Day: Having a very thin spatula like this Oxo Good Grips Fish Turner can make the difference when you're dealing with delicate foods.

Farmed Catfish


Debbie said...

...I just became a Southern gal....

Fun and Fearless in Beantown said...

I love fried catfish so oven fried catfish is something I definitely would love to try! I like making a healthier version of dishes so I'll definitely give this a try!

Torviewtoronto said...

lovely marinate looks delicious

Drick said...

Hey thanks Scott for the shout-out and for trying the glad I finally posted this one, it is an old family favorite from the days we spent catching fish on Lake Martin in central Alabama. What I like about the recipe is that any fish will do as long as the fillets are not too thick. - Funny you mentioned the paprika, Hungarian is all I use when needing regular, thought everyone did too...

Carolyn said...

I love catfish and this looks like a great recipe. Great job "healthifying" it!

Anne said...

Wow, this looks way too good to be oven-fried! I can't wait to see your healthy approach to cornbread - I've had great and catastrophic results when lightening up cornbread in the past, so I'd love some inspiration there.

Squeaky Gourmet said...

great twist on Drick's recipe! Nicely done!

Scott K said...

Thanks all, especially Drick, my inspiration for this. Anne, my trick with corn bread is to substitute a can of cream-style corn for the oil and milk. Adds more of a corn flavor. If you buy a mix, just mix a can in with it and go for it. I'll post the from-scratch recipe soon.

The Mom Chef said...

This does look wonderful; as good as the original southern version in my book. Thanks for taking the time to reduce the bad parts and keep the good!

Keri said...

Yeah, BABY!!!


May Ling Wu said...

I love fried fish but don't eat it due to health reasons. Gotta try this!


That is quite an accomplishment!

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