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Catfish Nuggets With Dill-Caper Sauce

For the dill-caper sauce:
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup capers, drained and roughly chopped
  • 1 lemon (zested and juiced)
  • 1 teaspoon The Spice Hunter California Dill Weed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
For the catfish nuggets:
Directions:
  1. Make the dill-caper sauce: Combine mayonnaise, sour cream, capers, lemon zest, 2 tablespoons lemon juice (about ½ lemon), dill weed, and salt in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate until you’re ready to use.
  2. Prepare the catfish by cutting the filets in half lengthwise. Form nugget-size pieces of fish by cutting the halved fillets into about 2-inch pieces, widthwise. Discard any really thin ends.
  3. Season the catfish pieces with lemon juice, lemon zest, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon sweet paprika, ½ teaspoon granulated garlic, and ½ teaspoon red pepper. Set aside.
  4. In a medium mixing bowl, combine 1 tablespoon salt, 1 teaspoon sweet paprika, 1 teaspoon granulated garlic, 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, cornmeal, cornstarch, and all-purpose flour. Toss catfish pieces in cornmeal mixture and set aside on a plate or parchment-lined sheet pan until you’re ready to fry.
  5. Heat a large skillet filled with ½ inch of vegetable oil over high heat until it reaches 350°F. Shake off excess cornmeal mixture and fry the catfish nuggets in vegetable oil for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the nuggets are golden brown. Drain catfish nuggets on a large plate lined with paper towels. Fry the catfish nuggets in batches, as needed.
  6. Serve the catfish nuggets warm with the dill-caper sauce.

AUTHOR NOTES

These crispy nuggets skip the traditional dredging method and instead toss bite-size catfish pieces in a cornmeal-based frying mixture. The combination of cornmeal, corn starch, and all-purpose flour gives you a light and crunchy coating all in one step. The lemon juice plus zest bring a bright and fresh zing to the catfish, while also creating a thin glue for the cornmeal mixture to adhere to. The Spice Hunter seasonings (Sweet Paprika, Granulated California Garlic, and Crushed Red Chile Pepper) are bold, but not overwhelming—they complement both the catfish and dipping sauce, which features more lemon, California Dill Weed, and capers. The dipping sauce is creamy, briny, and comes together in seconds. You can make it ahead of time and store it for up to a week in the fridge. Bonus: It also makes a great spread on sandwiches. —Briana Riddock

Recipe curtesy of Food52