Country-Fried Redfish with Mustard-Pickled Potato Salad

Nothing delivers the flavors and memories of a hot summer day better than a Southern country fish fry, particularly fresh redfish, along with homemade potato salad and a bright and acidic buttermilk vinaigrette loaded with a garden full of herbs. ―Chef Matthew Pietsch, co-author of Sea Robins, Triggerfish & Other Overlooked Seafood

December 13, 2017

Ingredients

Mustard Pickled Potato Salad
  • 2 lbs. fingerling or other small potatoes
  • 1½ tsp. dry mustard powder 
  • 1½ Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1½ tsp. turmeric 
  • 2½ cups water
  • 1¼ cups white distilled vinegar 
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1½ Tbsp. kosher salt
  • salsa verde, such as one made with celery
  • 1 large bunch watercress, or alternative spicy hearty green, picked through and thick stems removed
  • buttermilk vinaigrette
Country-Fried Redfish
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. dried thyme, finely ground
  • 1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. black pepper, finely ground
  • 2 tsp. onion powder
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 4 farm-fresh pastured eggs, blended 
  • 1 Tbsp. hot sauce (Frank’s Red Hot)
  • 4 (6-ounce) redfish fillets, cleaned and trimmed
  • 1½ cups lard (or substitute with frying oil)
  • coarse sea salt or flake salt, as needed 

Instructions

Mustard-Pickled Potatoes: 

Add the potatoes to a medium stockpot. Pour enough water to cover the potatoes by 1 inch. Place the pot over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer, and cook until the potatoes are tender. Strain, then allow to cool. 

In a medium saucepot over high heat, add the dry mustard, Dijon, turmeric, water, vinegar, sugar and salt. Whisk to combine. Bring to a boil, ensuring all the ingredients are dissolved. Remove from heat. Transfer the cooled potatoes to a container with at least 2 inches of clearance. Pour the hot brine over the potatoes, and allow to marinate in refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours. 

Pickled Potato Salad:

In a medium bowl, toss the chilled Mustard Pickled Potatoes with some watercress and salsa verde, such as one made with celery.

Country-Fried Redfish:

Make dredge: In a small bowl, whisk the flour, thyme, paprika, pepper, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder and cornstarch together until combined.

Place your dredge into a medium-size shallow container. Do the same with the egg mixture, seasoned with the hot sauce. Thoroughly dry the fish fillets, and place into the dredge, ensuring an even and thorough coating of the mixture. Place each dredged fillet into the seasoned egg mixture, again ensuring an even coating before transferring back to the dredge one final time. Keep the fillets in the dredge until ready to fry. 

To panfry: Melt the lard or heat the oil in a large sauté pan or cast iron skillet over high heat. Once the fat has reached a temperature of 375° F, gently and carefully place the fish into the hot fat. Fry the fish for 2 or 3 minutes or until golden brown and crispy. Turn the fish over to finish cooking. Cook for an additional 2 minutes and remove from the lard and place on a plate lined with paper towels. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt or flake salt.  

To Serve: Paint the plate with some buttermilk vinaigrette. Place a piece of the fried redfish off center on the dressing, and garnish with a heaping scoop of the Pickled Potato Salad.


Photo by Matthew Pietsch. Excerpted with permission from Sea Robins, Triggerfish & Other Overlooked Seafood by Chef Matthew Pietsch and James O. Fraioli (Skyhorse Publishing, 2017).

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Ingredients

Mustard Pickled Potato Salad
  • 2 lbs. fingerling or other small potatoes
  • 1½ tsp. dry mustard powder 
  • 1½ Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1½ tsp. turmeric 
  • 2½ cups water
  • 1¼ cups white distilled vinegar 
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1½ Tbsp. kosher salt
  • salsa verde, such as one made with celery
  • 1 large bunch watercress, or alternative spicy hearty green, picked through and thick stems removed
  • buttermilk vinaigrette
Country-Fried Redfish
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. dried thyme, finely ground
  • 1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. black pepper, finely ground
  • 2 tsp. onion powder
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 4 farm-fresh pastured eggs, blended 
  • 1 Tbsp. hot sauce (Frank’s Red Hot)
  • 4 (6-ounce) redfish fillets, cleaned and trimmed
  • 1½ cups lard (or substitute with frying oil)
  • coarse sea salt or flake salt, as needed 
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