Cuban-style Breaded Catch with Spanish Rice

by Chef

For the fish: Pour buttermilk into a mixing bowl. Place flour, cornmeal, cracker meal and cayenne into a separate mixing bowl and blend with a fork or whisk. Place chunked fish into the buttermilk, and then dust them with the flour mixture. Let sit for 1 minute. Heat the frying oil to 360°F, using a deep skillet or deep fryer and a clip-on thermometer. Then drop fillets into the hot oil one at a time. Fry for 3 to 4 minutes or until golden brown. Drain well and transfer fish to a paper towel-lined plate to further drain. Taste, and adjust seasoning with salt. For the rice: Set a heavy nonreactive saucepot over medium-high heat. Add oil, onions, peppers, celery, and garlic and sauté the cut vegetables until tender. Add spices, herbs, stir, add wine, broth, tomatoes, cider, and stir. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add rice and beer, stir and cook covered over low heat for 25 minutes, turn off and remove cover. The liquid should be absorbed, but the rice should be moist. Taste, and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. To serve: Place the fish onto individual dishes or platter, spoon rice over top and around fish. Serve right away.

Serves: Serves 4


For the fish:

3 cups buttermilk

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup yellow cornmeal

1 cup cracker meal

1 teaspoon cayenne

Pinch kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

4 (4-to-5 ounce) boneless, skinless fillets (snapper, grouper or triggerfish)

Oil for frying (vegetable or peanut)

For the rice:

¼ cup olive oil

1 cup small-chopped yellow onions

1/2 cup small-chopped green bell peppers

1/2 cup small-chopped celery

1 teaspoon minced garlic

2 teaspoons smoky paprika

1 jalapeño or serrano pepper, seeded and chopped fine

1 teaspoon cumin powder

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 cup chardonnay

1 1/2 cups chicken or pork broth, hot

1 cup tomato sauce

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1/2 bottle of amber or porter-style beer (drink the rest)

1 1/2 cups short grain rice (Valencia or Calasparra), rinsed

Pinch kosher salt and dash of freshly ground black pepper