For your Mardi Gras….
I don’t know why I feel the need to cook the appropriate meal on a matching holiday, but I do. As you previously read, Bastille day must have mussels and Mardi Gras must have a fried catfish sandwich. Because I was speaking at a conference, we finally went to New Orleans last year and tested out po’boys left and right. The other day, we made my version of a po’boy sandwich with tilapia, and it was even better than my pre-trip stabs at it. The first step is changing from catfish to tilapia, accompanied by allowing myself to be generous with seasoning. Tilapia is a sustainable fish, and like catfish it is very low in mercury. It stays together better than catfish, so it made it ideal for a better sandwich. We often use it for tacos as well.
To save time, I am not going to write this out in a long traditional recipe format, but just explain the basic breading method. Using two plates, dredge the fish through egg-whites, and then next, a breadcrumb mixture. I prefer to add cajun spices into the mixture to give it some flavor, be generous with the spice. Probably the only positive thing a nutty college roommate showed me that added to my cooking life, Tony Chachere’s creole spice is a great thing to add to bread crumbs or even french fries. Next, put oil in your pan, probably 2-3 tb of canola, which is not a traditional frying oil, but is healthier. I never measure, but just try and cover the bottom of the pan so the fish won’t stick. Place several pieces of tilapia to cover the pan. It will only take a few minutes to cook the fish, and flip once. Do not move around your fishies a bunch of times, or continuously flip. This may make us feel like a better chef, but you are actually ruining the fish.
Serve on a bun with Romaine lettuce and Roma Tomatoes sliced, as these are the best tomatoes at the grocery store in the winter. Now, this particular time, we realized we were out of mayonaise, so I couldn’t make the dressing. So, instead, we put a little ranch dressing on top. Although A. thinks I shouldn’t tell you about our substitution, it really wasn’t that bad…