The Drive-Thru Gourmet
This week I reached out for a Homestyle Buttermilk Cod basket, a touch of Southern comfort food, at America’s No. 1 fish fryer, Long John Silver’s, with about 1,000 restaurants serving sea to shining seafood.
The buttermilk adds a Southern-inspired summer touch, with tangy meeting mild, and hush puppies on the side.
Here’s the Homestyle Buttermilk Cod breakdown: Two pieces of 100-percent wild-caught Alaskan cod, dunked in buttermilk and breading, and fried to a crispy golden brown. Served with natural cut fries and a few hush puppies to drive this meal straight through Dixieland.
Total calories: 240 (for the fish pieces). Fat grams: 11. Sodium: 890 mg. Carbs: 17 g. Dietary fiber: 0. Protein: 19 g.
The fish is guaranteed antibiotic-free, hormone-free and GMO-free. The Homestyle Buttermilk Cod basket is not free — it's $5.99.
Now, if Long John Silver’s really wanted to make this basket Southern-fried, they’d use catfish. But I don’t judge. I just eat’em and write-‘em.
The fish picker at Long John Silver’s is Peter Czizek, company vice-president of culinary innovations and quality assurance. I don’t know which is more impressive, that title or the fact his last name is worth 30 points in Scrabble.
“The light flavor of the cod balances really well with the tangy flavor of the buttermilk,” said Czizek. “It has a big crunchy bite, and the light, flaky fish smoothes it out. It really is delightful. Buttermilk is such a great summer flavor and we’ve added convenience. Summer is meant for spending time with family, so we’ve got dinner covered.”
The cod is caught and flash-frozen right on the boat, so it’s as fresh as can be, given its distribution to 1,000 restaurants across America. The fish is hand-breaded and fried up fresh to order in each Long John Silver’s restaurant. They’re good-sized pieces, you’re getting a good deal of fish for a good deal on the price.
The cod is caught in the chilly water of the northern Pacific, up Alaska way. If you’re worried about Long John Silver’s contributing to over-fishing the area, no worries. This is one of the most sustainable fishing areas in the world.
Good for Long John’s. Every little bit helps.
The best thing about Long John Silver’s – it’s not the same old, same old burger patter. Every time I eat at Long John’s, I think, “Why don’t I do this more often?” And then I’m back to the ground beef grind.
I need to slap a Post-It note on my dashboard – "Go Fish." The Homestyle Buttermilk Cod basket is a limited time only special. Catch now, release August 27.
Ken Hoffman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter: @KenCultureMap. To have all CultureMap stories, including Ken's weekly Drive-Thru Gourmet column, delivered to your inbox in one Daily Digest every morning, sign up here.