This is St. Patrick’s Day and, although I didn’t wear green today, Sena got me some Irish beer. It’s Guinness Extra Stout. The back label extols the virtues:
“Intense characterful and bold, Guinness Extra Stout is the pure expression of our brewing legacy. Bittersweet, with subtle hints of hops, dark fruits and caramel, this stout is a testament to great brewing.”
That dark fruit better not be dates or prunes. It’s brewed in Ireland.
This being Friday night, I wonder if John Heim (aka Big Mo) will mention anything about St. Patrick’s Day tonight on the KCCK Big Mo Blues Show, radio station 88.3 in Cedar Rapids or 106.9 in Iowa City.
Maybe he’ll mention May Ree and her hand-battered catfish. It’s better because it’s battered. Maybe the recipe includes a couple of bottles of Guinness Extra Stout, with notes of dark fruits and caramel. Dark fruits which are not dates, I hope. Allowable notes can be sharp or flat, blue, high, or low—but not dates.
Sena cooked up some breaded catfish nuggets the other night. They were not May Reese’s hand-battered catfish made famous by John Heim aka Big Mo on KCCK radio 88.3 on the Big Mo Blues Show every Friday night—but they will do.
They’re packed with nitrates, as Big Mo always says.
We’ve never eaten catfish, so this was historic for us. We made a little tartar sauce using Miracle Whip (not mayo!), pickles, and chives. Sena made faces while placing the nuggets into the oil for frying.
I thought they were very tasty. Sena found several little bones in her nuggets, some of which she transferred to my plate. My pieces didn’t have any bones, but I found a few in one of the pieces she gave me. Chick Filet Polynesian sauce was good with catfish as well as tartar sauce. Tartar sauce does not contain cream of tartar, I finally found out. It’s just mayo-based sauce (if you don’t have Miracle Whip) and the name comes from the Tartar family. We don’t know them.
Sena really did want to try catfish. But we’ll never have catfish again. What with bones and a fishy smell (which I didn’t notice), we’ll be sticking with fish like salmon, perch, sole, haddock, and the occasional Leviathan which, incidentally, is mentioned in the Old Testament Bible in the Book of Amos. Usually, I just arm wrestle them until they surrender from exhaustion and obligingly collapse into a very large frying pan.
I found out that some people proclaim on the internet that catfish nuggets don’t have bones in them. We found out that’s not true. They are trimmings that aren’t big enough to sell as fillets, which are also said to be strips of boneless meat. Some people like to stretch the truth. Others need a polygraph test.
I don’t know if Big Mo would endorse catfish nuggets. They are breaded. I don’t know if they’re hand-battered. Evidently May Reese is not involved in their production and sale.
I suspect they might be packed with nitrates, but we ate all of them and there are no nuggets left for scientific testing.
I listen to the KCCK radio station (88.3) Big Mo Blues Show on most Friday nights and the host is John Heim, aka Big Mo. He always mentions a sponsor he calls May Reese hand-battered catfish. There are a couple of slogans which make it sound real.
“It’s better because it’s battered!”
“It’s packed with nitrates!”
“Coming soon to a river near you!”
Nobody but Big Mo ever advertises it and I’m not even sure I’m spelling “May Reese” correctly. In fact, I doubt there is such a person. But it’s fun to listen to Big Mo talk about May Reese’s hand-battered catfish.
Sena bought some breaded catfish nuggets from Hy-Vee, which is about as close to May Reese as we’re likely to get. They’re IQF, which means Individually Quick Frozen. Sena’s just slightly dubious about trying them. But she’s going to cook them, just because Big Mo talks about hand-battered catfish (better because it’s battered!”) and it’s mainly because I get a kick out of the legendary May Reese.
We can’t remember ever eating catfish. When I was a kid, I used to fish for bullhead, which are in the same family as catfish. In fact, they are sometimes called bullhead catfish, which I didn’t even know until today when I looked it up on the web.
I fished for them in a creek in East Park in Mason City where I grew up. I would catch them and throw them back. They were almost always small and sometimes one would manage to squirm enough to sting me with the very sharp spine on its fins.
I never brought bullhead home because Mom made it abundantly clear she would never clean them.
I doubt Sena would ever cook hand-battered bullhead, even if you could find them IQF in the grocery store.
I’m not sure if bullhead would be “packed with nitrates” and I don’t think May Reese would hand batter them—unless she used a baseball bat.