Once or twice a year I do enjoy a good fish fry in a beer batter. I found a great deal on American catfish and could not pass it up. I thought, now I can satisfy my craving. Catfish is very mild tasting and the batter cooks up light and crispy. Until that time, the only way I had ever eaten catfish is blackened and seared. My first thought was to serve it with some homemade salsa, but when I realized I had some cabbage available, immediately I thought ... crunchy slaw! This is my version of a fish taco but on a tostada, an edible little plate, perfect! This dish is great for Lent or a summer party. Fish does not have to be boring - it can be delicious, savory and colorful.
For the Fish
1½pounds catfish sliced into 1-inch pieces (about 24 pieces)
After slicing the catfish, season it lightly with salt and pepper. Cover and chill until ready to use. If using frozen catfish, defrost for a couple of days in the refrigerator and blot off any excess moisture with paper towels.
In a bowl, combine the flour, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and 1/3 teaspoon Cayenne pepper. Stir to combine then whisk in the cold beer until mostly smooth. Cover and let sit for up to 1 hour.
In a bowl, combine all of the ingredients for the mango cabbage slaw in the order listed. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and chill until ready to serve.
Preheat oven to 200ºF. In a medium sauce pan, preheat 3 cups of oil to medium heat for about 8 to 10 minutes. You want a temperature of at least 350ºF.
Fold the catfish pieces into the batter until evenly coated. When oil is hot, gently drop in 3 to 4 pieces of fish into oil. Fry for 3 to 4 minutes, turning as needed. Transfer onto metal rack lined with a baking sheet. Keep warm in the oven until all the fish is fried. To serve, add some slaw onto tostadas, add 3 catfish nuggets. Garnish with cilantro, lemon/lime wedges, hot sauce and crema.
When preparing a beer batter, I suggest you prepare it at least 1 hour before. This gives it time to soak up all the dry spices and thicken. Leftover beer-battered fish can easily reheat to crispy in the oven, toaster oven or in a dry nonstick skillet on the stove top. There is no need to add any more oil, just heat at medium/low heat until crispy.