Tag Archives: Catfish

Queen G’s Fries ‘Em Up Fresh

9 Apr

State-of-the-art fried oysters can be hard to find — even here on the Gulf Coast. We found them this week at Queen G’s Cafe on Mobile’s Old Shell Road. They open at 11 am. I arrived about 11:40 am. Just in time to beat the lunch rush. It’s a tiny little place with a limited indoor seating capacity. There are some additional seats outside, but that can be hit or miss depending on our rather fickle coastal weather patterns. I grabbed a small indoor table and shared the dining room with a single middle-aged couple. Their conversation was spirited and their food looked appealing.

Queen G’s is housed in an old circa 1950s drive-in. It used to be called “The Rebel Queen” back in the day and they have the photos inside to prove it. The bright teal paint job would have looked right at home on a 1957 Chevy. The black and white exterior awning preserved some of the retro vibe.  

I was tempted when I read about the Chicken & Dumplings special, but ultimately stayed strong and ordered a small plate of fried local oysters. I say small only because they call it that at Queen G’s. It’s actually pretty substantial with about 10 meaty cornmeal-coated oysters on each platter. The market price for this dish (with 2 sides) was $12. Order the large oyster plate and you may be ready for a mid-day siesta. Be forewarned.

The menu at Queen G’s is very cool looking. I’m a sucker for that old meets new look. Each meal (as you can see above) comes with a poofy square of cornbread and more than a couple of pats of real creamy butter. None of that greasy margarine or Country Crock crap. I notice these little things, so restaurateurs take note. The cornbread was just fine. Not really noteworthy in any way, but OK.

The fresh oysters are fried up to order at Queen G’s. Nice. A cornmeal coating really makes a difference. So much better than flour (if you ask me). They are prettied up on the plate with a few flecks of chopped green onion. I had my cocktail sauce and Tabasco at the ready and the oysters magically disappeared in just a matter of seconds. What a treat — especially on a weekday afternoon. For just a brief moment, I felt like royalty. I asked my server about the oysters point of origin. She informed me that they are farm raised in nearby Coden, AL. That explained their amazing sweetness. The local waters have been chilly due to some cool nights. That, from what I’ve been told, helps to deliver those sweet flavor notes.

My side of deviled eggs seemed like a good idea, but they could have been a little more devilish in my opinion. The presentation was nice – gussied up with paprika and parsley. The lime green serving bowl gave it a true elementary school cafeteria feel. I could tell the eggs had been sitting in the fridge for a while and the flavor was, well, just  a tad on the bland side. Nice effort, but they fell a little short this time. Not a big deal though.

My second side was rough chopped rutabagas. People love ’em or hate ’em. I dig ’em. Really! They look unadorned in the above image, yet I am happy to report that they tasted fresh and well-seasoned. I only wish the portion size was larger. You don’t find rutabaga on many menues these days — even in the Heart of Dixie. They can be tedious to prepare and the canned variety just aren’t near as delicious.

Clean your plate at Queen G’s and you’ll be rewarded with a free scoop of ice cream. Pretty good incentive, for sure. But you probably won’t require any additional motivation here. The food is good and fresh and the surroundings cozy, yet comfy. I’ll be back and I hope to rub elbows with you at Queen G’s one day soon.

QUEEN G’S CAFE – 2518 Old Shell Road, Mobile, AL – 251 471 3361

Catfish Sliders and Mint Juleps in West Hollywood

19 Mar
baby-blues-bbq
As the blue skies of summer stealthily approach—hey, March is close enough—your thoughts naturally turn to all things barbecue.

You’re not alone: the famed Venice Beach institution known as Baby Blues BBQ is quietly opening up a new West Hollywood spot on Friday, and they’re bringing their Guinness-soaked ribs with them. (Translation: won’t stay quiet for long.)

Think of the grub as authentically inauthentic—meaning, they proudly mix things up in the kitchen rather than focusing on one particular region. Of course, if you’ve lost a few good shirts to the founding Venice spot, you know that already—but this new outpost has a giant kitchen complete with deep fryer, so in addition to your old favorites, here you’ll find Fried Green Tomatoes and Hush Puppies.

Grab a stool to the left at the full bar (another improvement) for a Mint Julep, and order her a rum-heavy Sweet Tea. (It’s in a pint glass, but she can handle it.) You can choose your own sliders, everything from pulled pork to brisket to shrimp to catfish—but if you’re thinking meat platter and slaw, you’ll probably want to get yourself a table by the windows.

It’s just like a backyard, without the backyard.

Screen Doors and Sweet Tea

29 Oct

From Publishers Weekly
The warm, languid air of the South filters through this engaging book, in which Foose shares the traditional recipes that she ate while growing up on the Mississippi Delta and has returned to after training as a pastry chef in France and traveling the world. Gently humorous stories about family and friends form a seamless part of her instructions for community recipes like Strawberry Missionary Society Salad, as well as pleasant surprises like Tabbouleh, Curried Sweet Potato Soup, and Chinese Grocery Roast Pork that take Southern food beyond stereotypes. Fried chicken and grits do appear, but for such classics Foose emphasizes relatively simple, wholesome preparations that are rich without loading on more butter and oil than necessary. Although recipes for Gumbo Z’Herbs, Chile Lime Skirt Steak, and creamy succotash are mouthwatering enough just to read about, many cooks will be tempted to flip straight to the last chapters, where her enticing breads and pastries provide the book with a winning flourish. The cook may be Southern, but the appeal of the dishes she presents should reach well beyond people who grew up in the land of four-hour lunches and sweet tea savored on a porch swing.

This French twist on U.S. Farm-Raised Catfish is easy to make and delightful to serve to both your family and your dinner party.
PAPER SACK CATFISH

Serves 6

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 teaspoon of grated lemon zest
1/3 cup of fresh lemon juice
6 (6-ounce) U.S. Farm-Raised Catfish fillets, rinsed and patted dry
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 sprigs fresh dill
1 lemon, sliced into 6 thin rounds

Paper Sack Catfish from Chef Martha Foose's book Screen Doors and Sweet Tea 1. With nonstick cooking spray, lightly spray all over the outside of six lunch-size paper sacks.  The bags should be slightly translucent after spraying.  Cut six 8-inch lengths of butcher’s twine.  Set aside.

2. Adjust the racks in the oven, placing one in the lowest slot and one in the middle position.  Preheat the oven to 350° F.

3. In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the butter with the garlic, salt, oil, lemon zest, and lemon juice.

4. Place the catfish in a single layer in a dish.  Pour the sauce evenly over the fish, and then sprinkle with the pepper.  Place one dill sprig and one lemon slice on each fillet.  Gently slide each fillet into each paper sack.  Gather the mouth of the bag and give it a twist, then tie with twine.

5. Place three bags on a large rimmed baking sheet and the other three on another baking sheet.  Bake for 10 minutes, halfway through reversing the pans.  Serve at once, placing an inflated sack on each dinner plate.  For maximum effect, slice open the bags at the table.

Notes:

The sacks can be assembled and refrigerated 1 hour before baking. Add 5 minutes to the baking time if the sacks are coming right out of the fridge.

For added flavor and to round out the meal, place a few blanched asparagus spears beneath the fish and a thin slice of prosciutto or country ham draped across the top of the fish in each bag before baking.

This same dish can be prepared with fennel and oranges in place of the lemon and dill.

To learn more about Martha and her schedule of upcoming events, visit marthafoose.com.

 

Get your copy today — http://www.amazon.com/Screen-Doors-Sweet-Tea-Southern/dp/0307351408/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1225301285&sr=8-1