Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Un-Fried Un-Fish

In the South, most major celebrations (and just about any Friday night) are marked by fish fries, at which folks batter and deep-fry catfish and hush puppies. But even in my pre-vegetarian childhood days, I wasn't the biggest fan of fish. My family ate a bad batch of catfish once and I was turned off of all seafood forever (even though catfish really isn't seafood).

So I surprised myself when I decided to develop this Baked Tofu Fish Fry recipe for my cookbook:

I knew a good vegan Southern cookbook must include some faux catfish recipe, seeing as how its such a staple down here. But I felt like I already had enough fried recipes in the book. I don't want the whole cookbook to be a big fat fest, so I baked these tofu fish filets for a healthier spin.

The reddish brown stuff you see is dulse flakes, which is what makes the tofu taste like fish. And even though I'm not a huge fan of that fishy taste, these are tasty. The fish taste is mild, and I couldn't help but pat myself on the back for actually eating a healthy dose of sea vegetables.

I served my filets with vinegar and homemade tartar sauce (also in the book) and these Hush Puppy Corn Muffins:

If you've ever had a hush puppy, you know they're typically deep-fried. But if you're baking the faux fish, you can't very well break out the deep fryer for the hush puppies. These little guys have the same ingredients as my mom's fried puppies but without all the fat. The recipe will also be going in the cookbook.

Finally, I also tested out another of my mom's contributions for my cookbook — Fried Cabbage:

Last time I mentioned fried cabbage on the blog, a few commenters thought I meant "deep-fried" cabbage. But not so. It's really sauteed and caramelized with onions and a touch of sugar. But Southerners will label anything "fried" if they can get away with it.

31 comments:

nora said...

Mmmm, there's that fish!! You're efforts to include some non-fried recipes are well appreciated! everything looks delicious :)

Tara said...

Wow, this looks great! Those hush puppy corn muffins are genius! I have to admit, after hanging out with some friends in Mississippi waaay back in the day, I occasionally get a craving for catfish and hushpuppies.

Recipe man said...

this looks great i love fish and its so healthy

thanks!

Melisser; the Urban Housewife said...

Oooh, corn muffins & cabbage! yum.

celine said...

fried cabbage: yes, please.

Melisser; the Urban Housewife said...

Giiiirl, what's your email? I passed your info on to someone, but they couldn't find a way to contact you. Email me at melisser AT theurbanhousewife.com

Mihl said...

I would so go for your version! I was never a fan of fish, too. I mean, I am a fan of fish...alive and not dead and smelly.

A said...

I'm having flash backs of a restaurant in the small town where my hubby crew up. "Ezele's Catfish Cabin." All you can eat hush puppies and catfish served any and every way! Great addition to the book!
Have you announce WHEN the book comes out?? I'm too excited! Are you making it available on Kindle?
-A

Gina said...

I want some of that "fish". I was never a big fish person, but I keep seeing vegan fish lately at restaurants, and it kind of freaks me out, but this looks totally good!! Yum. And hush puppies = delicious!!

Sal said...

those muffins look superrad. yum!

miss v said...

"fried" cabbage is one of my faves! i love it when it gets all crispy in the skillet. i usually just use like 2 tablespoons of water to saute it, and the ends get all crispy.

i'm glad you included dulse in a recipe! i'm a huge fan of dulse flakes for some reason - i can imagine that this tastes good (even though i didn't love fish as a kid either).

CinnamonQuill said...

Oooo hush puppies. I don't like the real thing, but I like the 'idea' of them, so I am sure I would adore your baked version.

ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

LOL how can you not love the title :) :)

pixiepine said...

Must say again...I can't wait for this cookbook!

shelby said...

Those corn muffins are just calling my name!

laura said...

I can't wait to get this cookbook! Everything you're posting looks amazing!

Veg-a-Nut said...

I hate fish! Gross, but we love faux tofu fish sticks! Now the hush puppy corn muffins have me drooling!

Melinda said...

That is such a great idea- I love the idea of a vegetarian "fried fish" I will have to try it out!

Cyn said...

Everything looks so delicious! I can't wait to try them. I don't think I've ever had hushpuppies. And I love sauteed cabbage, it's so tasty.

josh said...

Love your blog...just one question: When does the cookbook come out? ...I'm not a very patient person here ;)

Laura said...

I am really looking forward to your cookbook. Your blog is one of my favorites!

Jen aka Jewbacca said...

ZOMG! that all looks really good! spread the word baby, i'm back. i've missed you-(and yer cookin') sumptin' awful.

Sheridanna said...

Yummy!!!! I want some!

jessy said...

your un-fish looks beautiful, Bianca - hooray for those rock'n sea veggies! they are super good for you! a subtle fishy flavor sounds perfect! the hush puppy corn muffins rock! i love that they're a tasty baked alternative to the traditional ones - i think i'd love these even more, and i can't wait to test 'em out! fried cabbage!?! mmmmmmmmmm!

Kiersten said...

I can't wait for the hush puppy muffin recipe!

I love "fried" cabbage, it's my favorite way to eat cabbage. It will never make sense to me to call it "fried" though.

nora said...

Does Recipe man know that it's not real fish? lol

Katrina said...

Those hush puppy muffins look A-MAZING! I MUST have that recipe! When will the cookbook be available? Will you be selling it through your blog?

HayMarket8 said...

Looks great. I can get enough sea veggies! I sneak them in whenever I can. Yum.

Serena said...

YUM! I adore fried cabbage!!!

Mary said...

That cabbage sounds delicious, and hush-puppy muffins are a stroke of genius! But I have to run away any kind of seafood, real or faux.

Rose said...

Your corn muffins look delicious. Ive never heard of hush puppys before but I LOVE corn :)