Dish off the Block: Catfish
The other day I was gazing into the case at the local fish market pondering what to make for dinner. The catfish looked pink and fresh. It is one of my favorite fishes to cook, in a multitude of ways, due to its forgiving texture and mild flavor. It also always sends a rush of memories back to me.... walking down Corn Neck Road from the Breakers to Mitchell Farm, fishing pole in hand, and I would put a freshly dug earthworm on a hook and cast into the pond. Catfish for dinner. A bear to filet, but always sweet and delicious. For this dish, I let someone else do the dirty work and I just reaped the bounty. This recipe is also fabulous with other white fish such as haddock and sea bass. I urge you to give the fish with the whiskers a shot.
Herb-crusted catfish with honey dijon vinaigrette
2 lbs. catfish filets, skinned
1 lemon, juiced (about 2 Tbsp. juice)
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
The herb coating:
½ cup flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. paprika
2 tsp. brown sugar, packed
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. Dijon
1 Tbsp. honey
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place the catfish filets in a shallow baking dish. Whisk together the lemon juice and soy and pour over the fish, turning to coat. Let marinate at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes while you prepare the herb topping and vinaigrette.
Combine the flour, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, curry, thyme, basil, paprika, and brown sugar in another shallow dish.
For the vinaigrette, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, Dijon, and honey in a small bowl and set aside until plating.
Heat 3 to 4 Tbsp. olive oil in a large oven-proof non-stick skillet (if you don’t have an oven-proof skillet, you can transfer the filets to a 9-inch x 13-inch pan for baking). Take the filets out of the marinade and let any excess moisture run off.
Dip the filets in the flour-herb mixture to evenly coat on both sides. Place in the hot oil and sear until browned on both sides, about 4 to 5 minutes per side.
If the filets are very thick, you can finish in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes. They are perfect when a fork easily slides in and out of the filets. Catfish is very forgiving and hard to overcook, so you got this!
Serve one filet over mashed potato and butternut purée with roasted asparagus spears. Drizzle with the vinaigrette. Devour!
For more of Pam’s recipes, visit www.dishofftheblock.com.