To me, cooking is not only an art but also a reflection of someone’s passion, attributes, pride, and culture. These beautiful reflections are the reasons why I run an ongoing series of “friends sharing” their favorite dish that has a story, memorable events, and inspiration.
Today, I am very excited and proud to have MJ of MJ’s Kitchen cooking with us. When I first visited MJ’s blog more than a year ago, I immediately got this feeling of coziness; her style of cooking and writing made me feel welcome. If you are following her blog, you will understand what I mean. Thank you MJ for being with us today and sharing this wonderful dish.
Friends, please welcome MJ Willis of MJ’s Kitchen.
Hello everyone! I’m MJ of MJ’s Kitchen, a kitchen in the southwestern United States. I am so thrilled to be here in Ray’s house. When Ray asked me to guest post a few weeks ago I was extremely flattered, and very excited. What an honor to do my first guest post here! Thank you so much Ray for inviting me! When I asked if he had something in mind, Ray requested a recipe that represented my roots. What a great request and an easy one to fulfill! I had been planning on posting fried catfish for a long time and this gave me the perfect opportunity. So without further ado, let’s talk about Louisiana catfish.
Growing up in Louisiana I ate more fried catfish than most people eat in a lifetime. We had a family cabin on Black Lake (a lake in north Louisiana) where the family, aunts, uncles and cousins all gathered for family picnics. Black Lake is a relatively large lake and the catfish get really, really big. They get SO big that my uncle would set up traps in order to catch them. Most of the catfish he trapped were well over 100 pounds (45 kg)! Now that’s a lot of catfish, and I have to tell you – I’ve never had better catfish in my life!
During the day while my uncle was checking his traps, some of the rest of us were cane poll fishing for bream (bluegill). Once eveyone started showing back up at the cabin with their catch of the day, my mother and aunts would stand at the stove and fry up enough catfish and bream to feed sometimes as many as 30 people! The fish went straight from the water to the fryer! Along with the fish we would have French fried potatoes, potato salad, coleslaw, and my favorite – carrot and raisin salad.
So today, I’m sharing with you my fried catfish, and carrot and raisin salad recipes. For the catfish, I took my mother’s method (she didn’t have a recipe), and adjusted it just a little bit. Since I have the privilege of frying my catfish in the same cast iron Dutch oven that Mama used for over 50 years, the taste and experience is pretty much the same. I hope you enjoy!