1 pound fresh or frozen fish fillets, 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons water
2/3 cup cornmeal or fine dry bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon salt
Dash black pepper
Shortening or cooking oil for frying
Thaw fish, if frozen. Rinse fish and pat dry with paper towels. Cut into four serving-size pieces, if necessary. Measure thickness of fish. In a shallow dish combine egg and water. In another shallow dish stir together cornmeal, salt, and pepper. Dip fish into egg mixture; coat fish with cornmeal mixture.
In a large skillet heat 1/4 inch melted shortening or oil. Add half of the fish in a single layer, frying on one side until golden. (If fillets have skin, fry skin side last.) Turn carefully; fry until second side is golden and fish begins to flake when tested with a fork. Allow 3 to 4 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels. Keep warm in a 300 degree F oven while frying remaining fish.
Spicy Hot Pan-Fried Fish: Prepare as above, except omit pepper. Reduce cornmeal to 1/4 cup and combine with 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, and 1/2 teaspoon paprika.
Potato Chip Pan-Fried Fish: Prepare as above, except substitute 1 1/3 cups finely crushed potato chips (about 4 cups chips) or saltine crackers for the cornmeal and omit salt.