Come, fry with me. Fried foods do not necessarily have to be very greasy, hard to digest, and fattening. When frying the oil must be hot enough to quickly brown and seal the food with a crispy crust to prevent the oil from being absorbed by the chicken, fish or whatever is being prepared. Fried foods are not recommended for everyday fare, but we all get hungry for wonderful Sunday fried chicken, Friday night fried cat fish and crispy slices of squash, eggplant, zucchini and of course, onion rings. So, skip the fast food places and try preparing your own, there’s a world of difference. PAN FRIED CHICKEN 1 cup all purpose flour ¼ cup corn meal 1 teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon black pepper 1 small fryer, cut up ½ cup canola oil ½ cup butter or margarine 2 tablespoons all purpose flour ¼ teaspoon salt 1/8 teaspoon pepper 1 ½ cup milk Combine flour, meal, salt and pepper in a plastic or paper bag, shake well to mix. Place several pieces of chicken into the bag, shake well to coat. Repeat with remaining pieces of chicken. Place on rack or paper towels to dry for a few minutes. Heat oil and butter in a large cast iron skillet to hot (375 degrees). Add chicken pieces, do not crowd in pan; brown well on both sides. Cover skillet , reduce heat to medium and cook for 20 minutes. Uncover and cook additional 10 to 15 minutes, until well browned and juices run clear when pricked with a fork. Remove chicken from oil and drain on paper towels. Reserve 2 tablespoons drippings in skillet. Add the 2 tablespoons of flour, salt and pepper and cook, stirring until flour is lightly browned. Gradually add the milk, stirring until mixture is thickened and bubbly. Serve the gravy with the chicken. FRIED CATFISH 1 qt . water ¼ cup vinegar 3 tablespoons salt 6 catfish, (10 to 12 oz) or 6 fillets, same weights 1 ½ cups cornmeal ½ cup all purpose flour ½ teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon onion powder ¼ teaspoon pepper Vegetable oil for frying Combine water, vinegar and salt in a large bowl. Soak fish in mixture for several hours in the refrigerator . Combine flour, meal, ½ teaspoon salt, onion powder and pepper in a plastic bag, shake to mix well. Add the fish, one at a time, and shake until fish is well coated with the flour mixture. Pour oil to a depth of 2 to 3 inches in a large, heavy Dutch oven, heat to 375 degrees. Fry fish 4 to 5 minutes on each side, or until golden brown and fish flakes well when tested with a fork. Remove from oil and drain on paper towel. Serve with lemon slices, and tartar sauce . Fried fish must be served with Hush Puppies, the meal would not be complete without them. SOUTHERN HUSH PUPPIES 2 cups corn meal ½ cup pancake mix 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon salt 2 ½ teaspoons sugar (if you like sweetened, which I don’t) ½ cup finely diced onion 1 cup buttermilk 1 egg, beaten 2 tablespoons oil Oil for frying ( Just use Dutch oven and oil from fish frying) Combine the first 6 ingredients. Stir well, add the egg, buttermilk and 2 tablespoons oil, also a dash of hot sauce it you like. Re-heat oil to 375 degrees. Carefully drop batter by rounded tablespoons into the hot oil, cook only a few at a time, turning once to brown on both sides. Drain on rack or paper towels and serve immediately. FRIED VEGGIE SLICES 1 eggplant, squash, zuchinni or green tomatoes Wash and slice vegetable into ½ inch slices 2 eggs, beaten 1 cup buttermilk 2 cups Italian seasoned bread crumbs Salt and pepper to taste Oil for frying Combine eggs and milk, mixing well. Dip vegetables in milk mixture, then into the crumbs, coating well. Pour oil to a depth of ½ inch into a heavy skillet, heat to 350 degrees. Fry slices, a few at a time, turning once until golden brown on both sides.
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