November 3, 2013

Vegetarian Challenge - Day 6 (Cornmeal-Crusted Catfish)

As evidenced by the stolen tartlet yesterday, my grandpa is in town. Even though he's from New York (which isn't exactly the south), he loves catfish. I do, too, and one of my main sources of protein this week is fish. So I made some catfish. It tastes just like the crispy fried catfish from his favorite Cajun restaurant, but it's much healthier because it's baked. The cornmeal crust keeps it crunchy and moist; you won't miss the grease or the oil splatters.

Now let's talk resources. The final component of the various impacts eating vegetarian has on the environment is the reduction of resource consumption. 70% of US grain and 80% of US corn is fed to farmed animals. The amount of grain alone could feed about 800 million people. Granted, grain has much less protein than meat, but it's still a significant amount of food. In fact, the ratio of the amount of food used to produce meat to the amount of meat produced is 5:1, though the ratio is closer to 1.4:1 if you only include the amount of food fit for human consumption since many animals, particularly pigs, eat waste or food inedible to humans.

Luckily, this catfish is delicious enough to make you forget about meat, at least temporarily. I must admit I really want a cheeseburger right now, but it has been almost a week since I've had any sort of meat, so I'm allowed to crave some. But I just have to survive Tofu Monday (is that a thing?) and I can have whatever I want, though that will certainly include this catfish and all the other dishes I've made this week.

1lb Catfish
1 Egg
1/3 Cup Buttermilk
1/2 tsp Hot Sauce
1/2 Cup Cornmeal
2 T Flour
2 tsp Season Salt
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp Onion Powder
1/2 tsp Paprika

Heat oven to 400F and grease a cookie sheet.

Whisk the season salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika together. Combine the egg, buttermilk, hot sauce, and a third of the spice mixture. Combine the cornmeal, flour, and remaining spice mixture. Dip the catfish in the egg mixture and then the cornmeal mixture, shaking off the excess.

Place the catfish on the prepared tray and bake for 12 minutes or until cooked through.

Serves 4

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