Posts Tagged catfish

Cajun Blackened Catfish

Cajun Blackened CatfishMany moons ago, before Emeril was the “big thing” in New Orleans, there was this chef named Paul Prudhomme. The first time I ever had blackened anything was at his restaurant, KPaul’s. I used to go to New Orleans every year for the same trade show, and every year the lines waiting to get into his restaurant would run the entire length of Chartres Street. It was worth the wait every single time. The first time I ate there, I had Blackened Yellowfin Tuna. He just happened to be in the restaurant that night and he not only signed the cookbook I bought, but he signed my menu.

Since then, I’ve had many things “blackened,” including beef. But catfish has to be my all-time favorite.

This is best cooked in a cast-iron skillet, but I’ve also been successful using a non-stick skillet. The idea isn’t to burn the daylights out of it, but just to blacken it a bit. This recipe is for two catfish fillets, but it’s easy to double it if you’re cooking for more than two people. This is one of those no-brainers.

 

Ingredients

2 catfish fillets (usually about a pound or slightly over)

2 tsp cayenne pepper

2 tsp black pepper

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp thyme

2 tsp paprika

1.5 tsp Kosher salt

2 tsp onion powder

2 tsp garlic powder

Butter or oil (do not use margarine; it will not work)

Directions

First, mix together all of the spices in a shallow dish that can accommodate the catfish. Rinse the fillets and pat them dry. Then place them in the spices, using your fingers to thoroughly coat both sides of the fish.

Put the butter or oil in the pan and heat the pan on medium-high heat. While you’re waiting for the pan to heat, be sure that you have your stove vent on and that you open some windows. If you are successful cooking this, you’re going to generate some smoke. That’s a good sign. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve set off the smoke detector in my house.

Put the catfish in the pan and cook for about 4 minutes on each side.  Don’t be tempted to turn the heat down! Searing under this high heat will release the flavors and the oils from the spices directly into the fish. Serve immediately with your favorite southern-style sides!

 

 

 

 

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Fisherman’s Wharf Cioppino

cioppinoI’m naming this Fisherman’s Wharf Cioppino because the first time I ever had this dish I was on vacation in one of my all-time favorite cities: San Francisco. This seafood feast is one of the eight wonders of the food world. It’s origins lie in — as you may guess — Italy. For a “stew” of this complexity, it’s remarkably uncomplicated to make.

Like its cousin, Mediterranean Fish Stew, you can serve it with crusty bread. However, I also highly recommend serving it over pasta, preferably homemade pasta.

You’re going to need a very large kettle or pot for this. I use the pot I cook lobsters in.

Ingredients

5 tbsp olive oil

1 large Vidalia onion, chopped

1 large green bell pepper, seeded and chopped

2 large shallots, chopped

8 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups chicken broth

2 cups fish stock

1 cup all-natural clam juice (Snows is what I use)

1 28-oz can diced tomatoes with juice

1.5 cups dry white wine (Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay)

1/4 cup tomato paste

1 tbsp dried basil

1 tsp dried whole oregano

1 tsp dried thyme

1 tbsp red pepper flakes

1 tsp fennel seed

1.5 tsp salt

1 tsp coarse-ground black pepper

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

2 bay leaves

1.5 lbs catfish, salmon, halibut or cod, cut in pieces

1.5 lbs large shrimp, peeled and deveined

1.5 lbs sea scallops, cut in half

1 lb mussels, cleaned and debearded

1 lb littleneck clams, cleaned and scrubbed

1 lb lump crabmeat

1/2 lb calamari, bodies only cut in 1-in rings

Directions

Heat the oil in a lobster pot or large kettle over medium heat. Add the onions, shallots, pepper and garlic. Cook until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add tomato paste, basil, oregano, thyme, salt, red pepper flakes, and coarse-ground black pepper. Cook for another several minutes.

Add the tomatoes (and their juices), clam juice, chicken stock, fish stock, white wine, fennel seeds and bay leaves. Cover the pot and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer for about 30 minutes until the flavors blend together.

Remove the cover and add the littleneck clams and mussels.  Cook, covered, for 5-10 minutes or until the shells open. Remove the shellfish with a slotted spoon and reserve. Be sure to throw away any clams or mussels that have not opened.

Next, add the scallops, shrimp, fish, crab meat and calamari rings. Cover and simmer for 5-7 minutes until everything is just cooked through. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Return the shellfish to the pot and stir in the parsley. Simmer for another 3-4 minutes.

Ladle into bowls and serve immediately with crusty bread. Or serve over pasta with Parmesan cheese on the side.

 

 

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Mediterranean Fish Stew

Mediterranean Fish Stew 2My niece reminded everyone the other day on Facebook that it’s getting to be soup weather. I, for one, believe it’s already here. And it’s not only “soup” weather, it’s “stew” weather. This is an amazingly aromatic fish stew that calls for a firm fleshed white fish, like hake, halibut, mahi-mahi…even catfish. Better still, try a combination of fish in this one.

It’s great with a nice, dry white wine and some crusty Italian or French bread. And don’t worry about the addition of the anchovies. It adds amazing flavor, and nobody will even know they are there. Even though you may have some friends who are anchovy-phobic, do not leave these out of the recipe!

Ingredients

2 tbsp olive oil

2 Vidalia onions, chopped

1 celery heart, chopped

1 large or 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped

6 large garlic cloves, minced

4 anchovy fillets, chopped

2 lbs ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped

1.5 cups dry white wine, like sauvignon blanc or pinot grigio

3 cups water

Sea salt and fresh-ground black pepper, to taste

2 wide strips orange zest

2 lbs firm, white fish (halibut, hake, catfish, mahi-mahi, cod…or any combination thereof), cut in pieces

Saffron (generous pinch)

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Chopped parsley or slivered basil, for garnish

Directions

Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy soup pot over medium-low heat. Add the onions, celery and carrots. Cook for 10-15 minutes until thoroughly tender.

Add the garlic and parsley. Cook for several minutes more until the garlic is fragrant and becomes translucent.

Add the chopped tomatoes and anchovies. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring often until tomatoes have cooked down and the mixture becomes aromatic.

Stir in the dry white wine and bring to a boil. Boil for five minutes, stirring frequently. Add the water, return to slow boil. Add about 1.5 to 2 tsp sea salt, reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for another 15 minutes. Stir frequently. Taste for salt and garlic. Add more if necessary. Remember that once the fish is added it will increase the depth of flavor.

Stir in the orange zest and the fish. Add a health pinch of saffron. Simmer slowly uncovered for about 15 minutes or until the fish is cooked through.

Add the fresh-ground pepper, taste again, and adjust the salt if necessary.

Remove the orange peel, and remove the stew from the heat. Serve in soup bowls, garnishing with either parsley or slivered basil. Serve with crusty bread or garlic croutons.

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