You know those dive restaurants that are so incredible and well-known that they can pretty much do whatever they want and still stay in business? They usually have crazy inconvenient hours (10am-11:30am) and ridiculous policies (cash only) but even though they are totally not customer-friendly, the food makes it 100% worth the inconvenience of it all?
Well, in a nearby town growing up, there was a seafood joint and it was one of these places. Thanks to being über landlocked, finding good seafood in Indiana is always a struggle, but this place was on its game. Freshly flown in seafood daily means you can have all kinds of crazy demands as a restaurateur. Everyone looked past their shoddy dinning room and ridiculous hours because the food was so good.
It was also all completely deep-fried. And pretty much the picture of unhealthy.
I was thinking about this place the other day and decided I needed an ode to this restaurant of my childhood. I wasn’t about to drop my heart-healthy fish into a deep frier, but this oven-baked method gives a really great crunchy texture that, in my book, tops its deep-fried cousin.
Instead of pairing it with the standard french fried potatoes, I went with a new sweet potato fry method I discovered on Pinterest. Thanks to the Art of Doing Stuff, I will forever and always have an awesome sweet potato fry recipe in my repertoire. What would I do without Pinterest?
I used a really nice wild-caught cod fillet that I found in the seafood case at my local grocery store, but any firm fish would work for this method. My parents’ have a lake stocked with catfish. You better believe that I’ll be doing this to some fresh catfish fillets this summer. Salmon would also work fine, but, as always with salmon, the flavor will be pretty fishy and pronounced. The beauty of a mild fish is that the breading doesn’t get overpowered.
Do you have any dive restaurants you like to go to?
About 2 minutes away from my house is a hamburger joint that has been around since the 1930s. They have crazy weird hours, are cash only, and completely out-of-the-way of our touristy downtown, but the burgers are incredible and totally worth the hassle. If they’ve been around for over 80 years, they must be doing something right.