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Catfish Fingers with Tomato Tartar Sauce



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person who convinced the American people that catfish is one of the
finest eating fishes in the world."

~ Willard Scott

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La Belle Cuisine


Catfish Fingers with Tomato Tartar Sauce
Lee Bailey's New Orleans
by Lee Bailey with Ella Brennan,
1993, Clarkson N. Potter


It really gets my attention that the complete title of this cookbook is:
Lee Bailey's New Orleans: Good Food and Glorious Houses
I simply cannot imagine why this wonderful book is no longer in print.
I treasure it. In fact, it makes my mouth water just to think about it!
Not only is it filled with Lee Bailey's scrumptious recipes, but it was
co-authored by none other than Ella Brennan, and contains recipes
from Commander's Palace, Mr. B's, and The Palace Café! And as if
that weren't enough, like all of Lee Bailey's books, it is enhanced by
stunning photography - in this case of New Orleans houses and gardens
that make me drool as much as the food photography. I wish you luck
in finding a copy... Sorry, but mine is not for sale!

1 1/2 pounds catfish fillets
3 tablespoons Creole mustard
2 tablespoons dry white wine
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Peanut oil for frying
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup corn flour
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon Creole Seasoning

Tomato Tartar Sauce:
1 cup puréed peeled and seeded fresh tomato
(or the same amount of canned)
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup tomato juice
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 1/2 cups mayonnaise
1/4 cup minced white onion
1/4 cup drained sweet pickle relish
1 tablespoon minced fresh tarragon
1/2 teaspoon Louisiana Hot Sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
Whites of 2 hard-cooked eggs, minced

Cut catfish into 1/2-by-2-inch strips. Combine the mustard, wine, salt and pepper. Add the catfish strips and toss to coat well. Cover and marinate
for an hour.
Heat oil in a deep fryer to 350 degrees F. Mix together the cornmeal,
corn flour, cornstarch and Creole Seasoning. Spread out on a sheet of
waxed paper. Roll the marinated strips in the mixture, lightly shaking off
any excess. Fry until golden, about 4 minutes. Drain on paper towels
and serve with

Tomato Tartar Sauce:
Combine the tomato purée, wine, tomato juice, and garlic in a small sauce-
pan and bring quickly to a boil, stirring, over high heat. Turn the heat down
to a simmer and reduce the mixture to 1 cup without stirring, about 20 to
25 minutes. Allow to cool.
Add the cooled tomato reduction to the mayonnaise, onion, and relish in a
food processor. Purée the mixture and scrape it out into a bowl. Mix in all
other ingredients, correct seasoning if necessary, and chill.
Makes about 3 cups.

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