For labor day, I decided to…uh…labor…over an old-fashioned fish fry. On the menu: fried catfish, tater tots and coleslaw. And beer. I didn’t make the beer. Or the tots. Sue me.
First, the slaw. I used to hate cole slaw, but I recently decided I’d give it another shot and have come to appreciate its crunchy goodness. For my slaw, I made “Mom’s Cole Slaw” which I found on Allrecipes.com. I love allrecipes. I used Napa cabbage for the base. It was a bit of a pain to grate, and quite messy. But that’s all part of the fun, right? Next time I will shred it rather than grate it. It turned out a bit on the soggy side (even though I did let it drain for a few hours after grating) and I think shredding it will help prevent that. It was, however, extremely tasty and I recommend it.
For the tots, I opened a bag of frozen 365 brand tater bites and deep fat fried them according to the package directions. I’ll endeavor to make my own french fries another day.
Finally, the catfish. I used the fish portion of Alton Brown’s recipe for Chips n’ Fish (he’s my hero, after all). This is where Kung Faux Pas #1 comes in. This recipe is a batter fry. Do not lay batter-laden fish strips in the fry basket and lower them into the oil. I ended up retrieving a basket with fish completely adhered to the bottom and sides of the basket like that’s the way God wanted it to be.
Being the crafty girl I am, I decided to ditch the basket and just fry it straight in the fryer. Kung Faux Pas #2. This probably voided my factory warranty (it does specifically say not to do what I did). It ended up working, however every now and then a fish would get stuck on heating element at the bottom of the vat (probably why they say not do it) and I’d have to knock it off with my tongs. This is likely not good for the fryer and is something I don’t recommend.
That said, the fish ultimately turned out golden brown and delicious. We enjoyed our fish fry with a nice cool one (as evidenced in the fry station photo) and basked in the fruits of our labor.