How To Make Fried Fish from the WhistleStop Cafe
The tradition of preparing pan fried fish, Southern seafood, is an experience that encapsulates the heart and soul of Southern cuisine. The process not only delivers a delectable meal but also weaves together the essence of tradition, family, and community in a truly wonderful and enjoyable way.
Picture this: the kitchen comes alive with a sense of anticipation as you gather the ingredients for this time-honored tradition. The main star, whether it’s fresh fish or fish fillets, promises a taste of the sea’s bounty. As you hold the eggs and water, you’re reminded of the simple yet essential components that will bind this culinary delight together.
The act of preparing the fish, rinsing them with care, becomes a ritual that connects you to the rhythm of nature. In a large bowl, eggs and water unite, forming a silky mixture that will cradle the fish. The eggs are cracked, their yolks and whites merging just like the generations of families who have come together over this very dish. The fish is gently placed in this egg bath, allowing it to soak, absorbing the promise of flavors to come.
Meanwhile, the skillet or deep fryer heats up, the oil dancing with heat, eager to transform the fish into crispy, golden goodness. The sizzle and pop of the oil are like a symphony that heralds the beginning of this cherished tradition.
And then, there’s the Batter Mix – the heart and soul of Southern fried seafood. It’s poured into a waiting bowl or pan, a canvas ready to be adorned. With careful hands, each fillet is lifted from its egg embrace, a moment that feels almost reverential. The excess egg mixture falls back, a reminder that every step in this process has its purpose. The fish is then gently rolled in the Batter Mix, each crevice and corner receiving its coat, a coat that will soon turn into a crispy, golden shell.
As the fish meets the hot oil, the aroma is both familiar and comforting, a reminder of countless gatherings where this dish has taken center stage. The fish dances in the oil, its Batter Mix turning from pale to golden brown, a visual cue that it’s transforming into something extraordinary. The care you take to turn the fish, ensuring it’s perfectly browned on both sides, mirrors the care that generations have taken to pass down this tradition intact.
But Southern cooking isn’t just about frying. There’s also the option to bake, a testament to the adaptability of this tradition. The fish is prepped just as lovingly, laid on a baking sheet that’s been prepared with care. Into the oven it goes, and as it bakes, the flavors meld, creating a dish that’s every bit as satisfying as its fried counterpart.
In the end, the tradition of making Southern fried seafood is about more than just food. It’s about preserving a way of life, a way of coming together, and a way of celebrating the rich tapestry of Southern culture. It’s a reminder that some things are timeless, and no matter how much the world changes, the simple joy of a well-prepared meal remains a universal language. So, as you prepare your fried seafood – whether for a family dinner or a gathering of friends – remember that you’re not just cooking; you’re carrying forward a tradition that’s as rich and deep as the flavors on your plate.
- 2 lbs. fish or fish fillets
- 2 eggs
- Vegetable Oil
- 1 Package Original Whistle Stop Seafood Batter Mix
Rinse fish fillets. Combine egg and water in large bowl (1 egg and 1/4 cup water per 1 lb. fish); mix well. Place fish in egg mixture and let soak for several minutes. Heat vegetable oil in skillet to 350° or deep fryer to 300°.
Pour Batter. Mix into large bowl or flat pan. Remove fish from egg mixture, one fillet at a time, allowing excess egg mixture to drip back into bowl. Dredge each fillet in Batter Mix, turning to coat well. Cook fish in hot oil for 8 to 9 minutes or until golden brown, turning to brown on both sides.
To Bake: Prep fish as above. Cover baking sheet with foil, spray with non-stick vegetable coating. Place fish on foil. Bake for 55 minutes (40 to 60 minutes depending on size of fish) at 400°. Broil for 2 to 5 minutes if desired.