Friday, August 31, 2012

Doctor Who Special: Catfish Fingers with Jalapeno Tardis Sauce!

Fish fingers and custard? Fish fingers and...custard? Fish fingers and CUSTARD?!

Okay, that's a combination only a Time Lord could love. But we're here today with an American Southwest twist on the Doctor's favorite dish! So, if you're looking for a delicious addition to your Doctor Who series premiere party or just something new and tasty to try, this is for you!

Jalapeno Tardis (Tartar) Sauce

  • 2 Cups Mayonnaise 
  • 1 Fresh Jalapeno Pepper
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 Tbs Capers
  • 1 Tbs Spicy Brown Mustard
  • 1 Tbs Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1 Tbs Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1/4 Tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/2 C. Fresh Cilantro

Remove the stem and seeds from the jalapeno pepper and dice. You want the flavor of the pepper...not all the crazy heat. The flavor of the catfish will be overwhelmed by the peppers if you're not careful.

*Be very careful handling the pepper. DO NOT rub your eyes and if you have any critters (dogs, cats, spider monkeys) be sure not to drop any seeds where they might accidentally get to them! It won't kill them, but they won't be happy about it and might do some rather disturbing coughing and hacking. 

Chop the garlic and capers, combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.

Transfer the Tardis Sauce into an air-tight container and refrigerate for later! The sauce will stay fresh in that container for about two weeks (make sure you label and date it appropriately to keep track of its freshness). The great thing about the Tardis sauce is that it is VERY versatile! Try it on chicken, salad or on a sandwich! It's great to have around even without the fish!

On to the fish!!

  • 4 Boneless, Skinless Catfish Fillets
  • 1 Cup Buttermilk
  • 1 Egg
  • Oil for Frying

Beat the egg into the buttermilk and pour the mixture into a shallow pan. I like to use a glass 8x8" casserole dish.

Slice the catfish fillets in half, length-wise. Fresh fillets are great but frozen work just as well. Place the strips of fillet into the buttermilk (making sure the strips are completely covered in the mixture) and let them soak while we move on to the next step.

*TIP - If using frozen fillets, I recommend allowing the fillets to thaw in the refrigerator. Catfish is a very delicate fish and if you defrost them in the microwave, you run the risk of poaching (cooking) the fillets in their own juices. If that happens, the fish will flake apart before you can even bread and fry it.


  • 1/2 Cup Yellow Cornmeal
  • 1 Cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 Tsp Salt
  • 1 Tsp Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 Tsp Onion Powder
  • 1/2 Tsp Cayenne Pepper
I believe in flavor in my breading. There's nothing more boring than a piece of fried chicken or fish that tastes like fried flour...BLAND! Above is my go-to breading for fish. I use the same thing (minus the cornmeal) for my fried chicken...give or take...sometimes I add more cayenne if I want something spicier. And I also tend to wing it (no pun intended). I follow my nose. And if the breading smells good, it will taste good. At the same time, if it smells like flour, it will taste like flour. YUCK!  

Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl with a spoon until well blended. Now, one-by-one, take the buttermilk-soaked catfish fillets and coat them in the breading mixture. Don't be shy about it! Just toss it in the bowl and move it around really well...coat that sucker until there isn't the tiniest naked bit of meat! Do each piece the same way and set aside on a separate plate. DO NOT discard your unused breading or buttermilk! You should have a decent amount still hanging out in your dishes.

Time to get your oil ready for frying! Use a nice, heavy-duty pan (being a Southern girl, I swear by cast-iron. It's ALL I use for frying) and fill it about half-way with vegetable or canola oil (whichever you prefer). Turn your burner to medium high and let it do it's thing until it hits about 375ºF. This is going to take a little while so now, go back to your fish.

DOUBLE-BREADED MADNESS! Have you ever wondered how to get a nice, thick, crunchy restaurant quality breading? Well, I'm about to let you in on my technique so don't tell me I never gave you anything. I find this works better if you let your first coating of breading sit for a little while so that it looks kind of gummy and gross...which is why I had you take care of your oil just now. I know, I'm sneaky. 

One-by-one take your breaded fish and coat them again in the buttermilk/egg mixture you had them soaking in and return them to your breading. Move them around a little, get a nice second coating on them and return them to the plate. 

Once your oil is ready, then the real fun begins! If you don't have a thermometer, don't worry. I learned a nifty trick from my aunt to gauge the readiness of frying oil. Take a piece of breading from your bowl...after all that dipping, you should have some hard little bits of clumped breading. Drop a piece into your oil. If the piece just kind of fizzles in a lazy way, it's not ready. But it all kinds of bubbles come off immediately and it starts traveling around the surface of the oil like it has a mind of its own, then it's ready. 

Carefully place 2-3 pieces of fish into your oil. Don't be scared of the oil. Just hold the fish by one end and ease it into the oil. If you're careful, the oil won't pop up and burn you. Just don't drop it in...not only will you make a mess but if you have a gas stove, you run the risk of setting a grease fire. 

*Safety first! Get out that baking soda or a large pan lid and keep it close. Better safe than sorry!

 Cover with a splatter screen to reduce the mess and let it cook for about three minutes or so. It's important that you work in small batches. The more stuff you add to your oil, the more the temperature will be affected. If your oil temp drops too much, it will take longer to cook your fish and it will feel and taste greasier. With a pair of tongs, check the fish. If the breading has hardened, turn the fish over and let it cook another three minutes. When the fish is golden brown and you can just begin to smell the fish cooking, remove it from the oil and set aside.  

Serve with chilled Jalapeño Tardis Sauce on a blue plate and enjoy! 

 I do hope you like the recipe! The conversion of my recipe for Who-ness was inspired by Alton Brown and his fabulous creativity. Any questions or comments, feel free to email me or shoot me a message on Twitter @8BitCook!  

Tune in next time for a new lesson for apprentices! Enjoy the series 7 premiere of Doctor Who on BBC America and remember... bow ties are COOL!


1 comment:

  1. You should post your finished plates on and put a link in the comments back to your blog.