A new fish place recently opened off of Mark Twain Avenue in Hannibal that my father-in-law, Mark, has started to frequent. The proprietors go fishing on the Mississippi River daily, haul in their catch, clean it all for you, and open for business around 10:00 am. So if you want fresh catfish in that general area, this is apparently the place to go.
Mark borrowed the equipment, but basically, we were outside heating up canola oil in a dutch oven over an outdoor propane burner. This one is very similar to the one I just got for my birthday to use in beer brewing. It took a little while to heat the oil up to the desired temperature, but he had an issue with the candy thermometer we were using. As in, it wasn’t working properly, so the first few fish didn’t quite fry correctly.
After he turned the burner down a bit, things improved. It only took a few minutes for each fish fillet to be cooked through. I was kind of amazed how the smell of fried fish permeated the air surrounding the frying rig. I mean, you can smell fried fish in a restaurant easily, but that’s an enclosed space. This was very easy to smell from 30 feet away. Mmmmm…
The buffalo fish isn’t one I’d ever had before: it’s the “wavy” one in the picture above. The catfish looked like your typical filet, so nothing too special there…except for the flavor, of course. Brooke also made hushpuppies, and those were pretty spectacular. The hushpuppies didn’t go in until after the fish was done, so as to not mix the flavors too much.
Brooke really wanted to try corn fritters, though. They’re similar to a hushpuppy, but not quite. She made up the corn mix and took it out with a little scooper, dropped it into the fryer, and they turned a nice, golden brown. I think they were a bit softer and less dry than a typical hushpuppy, but in the end, they’re pretty similar entities. Is there a reason to have both? Probably not. But hey, they were both spectacular, so I didn’t complain.
In all, the food was excellent. I can’t say I get fresh catfish very often, especially fish that was caught on the same day. I think I preferred the catfish over the buffalo, personally, but they were both really good. I think the corn fritters went over best with people, but the hushpuppies were almost gone by the end, too.
I don’t think we’ll have to try too hard to get Mark to make this a yearly (monthly?) event. 🙂