The answer to your "what's for dinner" prayers, Fried Spanish Mackerel Nuggets are first marinated in buttermilk, breaded in a spicy cornmeal mixture, and then fried to perfection. With their crispy golden crust, they are as easy to make as they are delicious.
2Spanish mackerel filletsabout a pound, cut into cubes approximately 1-1/2 x 1-1/2 inches square
2cupspeanut oilsee tips below
Place the buttermilk in a bowl and add the fish nuggets. Stir to make sure all are covered and let sit for five to ten minutes. Set aside.
Add the cornmeal, flour, Creole seasoning, and salt to a pie plate or large shallow bowl. Mix well.
Take the nuggets out of the buttermilk and let any excess drip off. Place the fish in the cornmeal mixture and toss. Make sure that the nuggets are coated on all sides. Place on a wire rack and repeat until you have all of the fish coated.
Place a cast-iron skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat and add the oil. You want at least 1/2 inch of oil in the bottom.
Before adding the fish, test to make sure the oil is hot by dropping in a pinch of the cornmeal mixture. It should immediately start to sizzle. If it doesn't, let the oil heat a few more minutes. The oil should ideally be at 375 degrees F. If the oil is too cool, your fish will be greasy if the oil is too hot, the crust will burn before the insides cook.
When the oil is hot, add the nuggets and make sure not to crowd them. You will most likely have to cook the fish in two batches.
Let the fish fry, turning as needed, for a total of two to three minutes or until the nuggets are golden brown and crispy on all sides.
Use a slotted spoon or fish turner to remove the nuggets from the oil. Place on a paper towel or wire rack to drain.
Repeat as needed until all of the fish is cooked. Serve immediately.
I leave the skin on my fish nuggets, but you can certainly remove it if you prefer.I always use peanut oil for frying because of its high smoke point, but you can use any good vegetable oil you like.My 12-inch skillet takes two cups of oil to have 1/2 inch of oil in the bottom. The amount of oil you will need will depend on the size of your pan.If you are worried about oil-splatter, use a high-sided Dutch oven to fry your fish. And, if you have a screen grease splatter guard, it works even better.After frying, if you're left with a fish odor in the kitchen, you can minimize the smell by boiling two cups of water and 1/2 cup of vinegar on your stove for a few minutes.If you end up with a fishy smell on your hands, here are a few ways to remove it. Try rubbing your hands with a half lemon or make a solution of lemon juice and water or a paste of baking soda and water. Rinse and repeat as needed. I've even heard of using toothpaste with baking soda, although I haven't tried that one.