Texas Mexican Cornbreaded Fish Fry Menu

“Between A.D. 900 and 1500 most, but not all, the Indians living in Texas had developed the distinct culture that Europeans and Americans encountered and would write about.” (David La Vere,The Texas Indians p.26). Their cuisine included various preparations of the fish they caught in the San Antonio, Guadalupe, Pecos, Rio Grande/Bravo and other rivers.  At that time the rivers were not so much borders as oases of food and irrigation,

More to the East, along the coast,(Beaumont, Galveston, Houston, Victoria, Corpus Christi) our Texas Indian ancestors dined on fish that included black drum, redfish, speckled sea trout, croaker, sea catfish, flounder, sheepshead, silver perch and mullet.”(1).

batteredfishfry.jpgThis fried fish method is straightforward and reflects the penchant for coupling the flavors of fish with corn, that elemental grain that was everywhere, even in our creation myths, all the way down to what is today Southern Mexico.

Even though fried fish is part of our TexMex cuisine profile, we all know that throughout the Southern US “Fish Fry” is a strong tradition.  For very good reasons: it goes back hundreds of years AND is deeelicious!

Method:
–Cut 6″ filets of very fresh catfish or grouper (remember that there should be no “fishy,” or other malodor at all!)
–dry the filets and season with salt and pepper
–dredge in wheat flour and shake off excess
–dip in a bowl of well beaten eggs, to which you’ve added just a little water. (1 teaspoon per egg) THEN immediately
–place in a bowl of corn meal.  Make sure the corn meal covers all the surfaces of the filet.  You can hold the filets in the cornmeal until you are ready to fry them.
–in a deep-fryer or deep saucepan pour enough canola oil so that the filets (2 or 3 at a time depending on the size of the pan) can be submerged.
–When the oil is at 350

degrees Fahrenheit, place the filets in the oil and fry until the fish is golden brown.  Remove with a slotted spoon (or basket) and place in rack for  holding until served. I suggest you serve it with a green vegetable, maybe snap peas, and slices of lemon.

RioGrandeRiver.gifMayonnaise Sauce: makes one cup (I love this remoulade sauce. The French arrived in Texas in 1600’s)
–combine the following ingredients in a bowl and let the flavors blend for about an hour:
7 fl oz mayonnaise
1/2 oz finely chopped capers
1 Tbspn finely chopped chives
1 Tbspn finely chopped tarragon
1/2 Tbspn Dijon Mustard
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
Dash of Tabasco sauce
salt to taste.

Iceberg Salad with Herbed Onion-Radish Melange
: serves four
Vinaigrette:  In a bowl whisk together until an emulsion forms:
3 fl oz extra virgin olive oil
1 fl oz red wine vinegar
1/2 Tbsp finely minced oregano
1 teaspoon finely minced sage
1 teaspoon finely minced thyme
1/8 tspn salt
Melange:
4 radishes, cut into quarters or sixths if large
1 green onion, thinly sliced
1/8 small red onion, thinly sliced
2 Tbspn flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
Place the melange in a bowl and add the vinaigrette.  Chill for 30 to 60 minutes.
Salad:
Slice half a head of iceberg lettuce into 1/4″strips.  Arrange in circular fashion in plates.  Spoon the marinated melange on top and serve with the fish and sauce.
This TexMex Fish Fry Menu is great for Sunday dinner!

1.  David La Vere, The Texas Indians, Texas A & M University Press, College Station, 2004.

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