This classic favorite requires several steps, but it’s well worth the effort for the resulting dish that replicates the Catfish Lafitte once served at Oxford’s Downtown Grill.
Recipe and photograph by Kimme Hargrove
2 Tablespoons butter
½ pound fresh shrimp, peeled
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup sweet vermouth
1 cup whipping cream
2 cups milk, divided
2 green onions (white and green parts), chopped
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons salt, divided
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper, divided
3 pieces ham, cut into thin strips
2 cups flour
4 catfish fillets (approximately 1 ½ pounds)
In a Dutch oven, heat 3 inches of oil to 350°F.
Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add shrimp and sauté, stirring frequently, until pink and opaque (about 2-3 minutes). Put shrimp in a small bowl until ready to plate, reserving drippings in the pan.
Add garlic and sweet vermouth to the pan. Bring to a boil, and cook for 1-2 minutes, careful not to burn the garlic. Add whipping cream, 1 cup milk, green onions, lemon juice, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper. Cook, stirring often, for 10-12 minutes until sauce has thickened. Set aside.
In a small skillet, sauté ham strips until slightly browned. Set aside until ready to plate.
Whisk eggs and 1 cup milk together in a deep dish container. In a separate deep dish container, combine flour, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper.
Dredge fillets in flour mixture first; then dip in milk mixture; then dredge again in flour mixture. Fry fillets in hot oil in Dutch oven for 6-8 minutes or until crispy and golden. Drain on paper towels.
Place catfish on a plate, and drizzle with sauce. Top with sautéed shrimp and ham. Garnish with parsley, lemon slices and green onions, if desired.
*The catfish can be fried in a fryer outdoors, if preferred.
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