As much as I love seafood, the price of it most of the time is a bit too much for many families so don’t get to eat it that much at home unless I can find something that is on sale at the fish market. I did happen to stumble across some catfish when I was there last and decided to pick some up since it was such a good deal. I have made catfish before and posted catfish recipes here, but I had come across one from Robert Irvine a while back and had been waiting for the right opportunity to give it a try. It is a very simple fried catfish with a nice little sauce to go with it and it only takes about twenty minutes to make the whole meal.
For the Catfish:
4 catfish fillets
2 cups buttermilk
Vegetable oil, for frying
1 to 2 cups cornmeal
Salt and ground pepper
1 to 2 cups all-purpose flour
2 eggs, beaten for egg wash
For the Sauce:
1/4 pound (1 stick) butter
1/2 cup minced red onion
1/2 cup minced bell pepper
2 ribs celery, minced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons seafood seasoning, such as Old Bay
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 cups heavy cream
1 pound Louisiana crawfish tails or small shrimp
2 cups cooked grits or polenta, for serving
Chopped green onions or chives, for garnish
To prepare the catfish: marinate the catfish by placing the fillets and buttermilk in a flat-bottomed container. Allow the catfish to marinate in the refrigerator for a minimum of 30 minutes and a maximum of 1 day.
Preheat a deep fryer, large cast iron skillet or Dutch oven to 350 degrees with vegetable oil. Before frying, remove the catfish from the marinade and allow any excess buttermilk to drip off. In separate bowls, place the cornmeal, seasoned with salt and pepper, the flour, and the beaten eggs to set up dredging stations. Coat a catfish fillet by dipping it into the flour, shaking off any excess, then dipping it in the egg wash, allowing any excess to drip off, and then dipping it in the seasoned cornmeal and repeat the process with the remaining fillets before frying. Fry the fist until the catfish reaches 145 degrees and is golden brown, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the fish from the frying oil and allow it to drain any excess oil on a plate with paper towels.
For the sauce: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the butter and melt it. Next, add the onions, peppers and celery and sweat the vegetables until they are translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the flour, seafood seasoning and garlic to thicken the butter. This will take 1 to 2 minutes.
Next, add the cream and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook the mixture until the cream sets. Finally, add the crawfish or shrimp, if using, and whisk to blend, cooking for the final 2 minutes.
To serve the fish, place 1/2 cup of grits or polenta on the plate, then a quarter of the prepared sauce and top with a crisp cooked catfish fillet. Finish the dish with green onions or chives.
Of course, finding crawfish tails in my neck of the woods is next to impossible, and I didn’t have any tiny shrimp on hand either, so I omitted them from the recipe, but I think they would really round things out nicely. The flavor from the sauce mixed with the catfish was fantastic and I served the meal with some polenta. The combination was great and it was all very simple to make. You could try the same dish with other types of fish if your prefer, such as flounder or tilapia.
That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!