Monday, September 14, 2009


"In a previous life, I learned that with the proper planning, you can cook or prepare just about anything, anywhere."

Don't even try and break your neck. There will be plenty of time for good eats after the North Texas game on Saturday. I thought I'd offer an idea that may be a bit different than what you've probably experienced on the quad before. Fried Catfish Tacos with Becca's Spicy Quad-side Guacamole. Yum.

I was completely inspired by our Tailgate Captains: David and Nikki Richardson, a more than generous couple who head up one of the best tailgates on campus each home football game in the fall. Several years ago, we enjoyed some mighty mean fried catfish strips-- Hot, crispy, a little spicy... and well, just plain good. How did he do it? Actually, I was amazed at how effortless it was.

David's Fried Catfish:

Game Plan: Plan ahead and check with James Spann to see how the weather will play out. Prepare on a sunny day with no rain in the forecast as hot oil and water do not mix and will be extremely hazardous if they do. Follow all instructions according to the portable fish or turkey fryer you will be using.

Before you leave the house:
Cut catfish into strips and place in a zip-top plastic bag. Place in an icy cooler, along with 1 quart of milk. Mix together 1/2 package Louisiana Lagniappe Fish Fry Mix and 1/2 package of Zatarain's Fish Fry Mix with salt, pepper, and plenty of Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning in a double bagged brown paper grocery sack and shake well.

Additional items you will need to take with you: Portable fish fryer or turkey fryer with all of it's parts, peanut or canola oil, 1 large Ziploc plastic container with lid, long tongs, spider (kitchen utensil used to fetch your fried items out of the hot grease), plenty of paper towels, and brown grocery sacks for draining the fried fish and a few pot holders wouldn't hurt either.

To prepare:
Set up fryer according to manufacturers instructions ... and for safe measure, on concrete. Heat oil to 350 degrees-- keep a steady temp because David says it'll burn otherwise.

Pour milk into bowl and add catfish in batches-- use tongs here-- then add to seasoning bag and shake well. Carefully, drop catfish into hot oil and cook until golden brown-- fish will float when ready. Remove with spider and drain on paper towel topped grocery sacks. Enjoy!

Now you can't go wrong with David's Fried Catfish, but if you want to take it a step further I'd encourage you to try Fried Catfish Tacos. Just a few extra items and you'll be good to go. (Ohh, and divvy up the recipes... it'll be a cinch.)

Fried Catfish Tacos
Makes enough to serve a crowd
Prep: 15 min.

Game Plan: Ziploc makes 1/2 cup plastic containers that would be ideal to transport many of the toppings you may choose to take.

1 package corn tortillas
David's Fried Catfish
Becca's Spicy Quad-Side Guacamole

Toppings: shredded cabbage or iceberg lettuce, salsa, shredded Cheddar cheese or Feta, cilantro leaves, sour cream, and chopped tomatoes

With a long pair of sanitized tongs (don't even try and use the one's from the raw catfish-- take a second pair with you) and your neighbor's grill, heat tortillas over flame until a little charred on the edges on both sides. Fill with David's Fried Catfish, Becca's Spicy Quad-Side Guacamole, and desired toppings.

The Extra Point: Make David's Fried Catfish for supper and serve with a simple cocktail sauce. What?... you don't have any? Stir together some ketchup and prepared horseradish. Add a little lemon juice and hot sauce-- if you want to get real fancy.

Becca's Spicy Quad-Side Guacamole

Makes about 1 cup (about 3 servings with chips or 8 condiment servings)
Prep: 8 min.

Game Plan: This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled. You may want to start with 1/2 the amount of salt if you just want to dip your chips (remember, they'll be salty, too.)

Juice from 1/2 of a lime
1 small garlic clove, pressed
1 tsp hot sauce (Heat will vary by brand-- I used Louisiana Hot Sauce this time.)
1/4 tsp kosher salt (Table salt, a.k.a, Morton, will yield more grains per measure so you may want to start with 1/8 tsp and work your way up if that's what you'll be using-- take the shaker with you and adjust once you add the avocado, if needed.)
1/8 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 large Hass avocado (about 10-oz.)
(1 bottle of water)

Before you leave the house:
Combine first 5 ingredients in a 4-cup Ziploc plastic container and snap on lid. In a gallon-size Ziploc bag, add a small cutting board, a paring knife, a fork, and a soup spoon; seal. Toss everything, including avocado and water, into an icy cooler.

To prepare:
Cut avocado in half and remove pit with tip of paring knife. Carefully slice avocado meat, remove from skin with spoon, and add to container with garlic and seasonings. Mash with fork. Rinse hands with bottled water. (Place used utensils back into zip-top bag and seal. Toss back into cooler.)

The Extra Point: Angela, a friend of mine, adds a little sour cream to her guacamole to brighten the appearance. About 1 Tbsp. will do it.

What's the #1 tailgate recipe you can't live without?
Share it with us!
Chow-Chow... Chow.

No comments:

Post a Comment