Catfish Lafitte

2 large eggs
1 cup milk
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons salt, divided
1 1/2 to 2 1/2 teaspoons ground red pepper, divided
4 catfish fillets (about 1 1/2 pounds)
Vegetable oil
12 unpeeled, large fresh shrimp
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/4 cup vermouth
2 cups whipping cream
1/4 cup chopped green onions, divided
2 teaspoons lemon juice
3 very thin cooked ham slices, cut into strips
Garnish: lemon wedges

Combine eggs and milk, stirring until well blended.
Combine flour, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper in a shallow dish. Dredge fillets in flour mixture; dip in milk mixture, and dredge again in flour mixture.

Pour oil to a depth of 3 inches into a Dutch oven; heat to 360°. Fry fillets 6 minutes or until golden; drain on paper towels. Keep warm.

Peel fresh shrimp, and devein,if desired.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat; add shrimp and garlic, and cook, stirring often, until shrimp turn pink. Remove shrimp, reserving drippings in skillet.

Stir vermouth into reserved drippings; bring to a boil, and cook 1 minute. Add whipping cream, 2 tablespoons green onions, lemon juice, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1 to 2 teaspoons ground red pepper; cook, stirring often, 12 to 15 minutes or until sauce is thickened.

Place catfish on a serving plate; drizzle with sauce. Top with shrimp and ham; sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons green onions. Garnish, if desired.

Yield: Makes 4 servings