Pecan-Encrusted Catfish

1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water
salt and white pepper to taste
1 cup all-purpose flour, for dredging
vegetable oil, for pan-frying, as needed
1 cup pecans, chopped
1/3 cup cornmeal, fine-grained
1/2 cup bread crumbs, dry
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
4 catfish fillets, skinless

  1. Place the pecans, cornmeal, bread crumbs, and parsley in a food processor and blend until chopped.
  2. Season the catfish fillets and dip fillets in flour; shake off excess, dip in egg wash, and let excess drip off. Place fillets in the pecan cornmeal mixture, pat and turn until completely breaded, then set aside until needed.
  3. Heat the oil to 350F.
  4. Pan-fry the fillets 2-3 minutes on first side, turn and cook 1 to 1 1/2 minutes more until golden brown; drain on paper towels.
Chef: Rustic look (coarse meal on outside crust), good color, nicely cooked, good crust--distinct from the fish, could use more seasoning (either on fish or in flour).

Personal/Team Critique: Fish could have used a sauce (chef advised in the south they would put gravy on top, but I would prefer a spicy aioli or tarter sauce). Fish was cooked all the way through and flaked nicely. I would use a seasoned flour next time for dredging.

Lessons Learned: on plating--when plating, you want to have some uniformity of theme, either everything is rustic (rough chopped, larger pieces) or it's a refined presentation, but you don't want a rustic fish and a refined mashed potato and vice versa. Choose the look you want and stay consistent.