Back in 1987, President Reagan designated June 25 as National Catfish Day. The idea was to “celebrate the value of farm-raised catfish.” I’m glad he did. It gives me a reason to develop some new recipes and approaches to a fish that’s become one of my go-to’s. Catfish is just so versatile. It’s an all-American favorite that summons images of lazy afternoons cane-pole fishing on a meandering stream. Very Huck Finn. Very satisfying.
At any rate, I’ve come up with a few new twists that are elevating this down-home staple to a real culinary showstopper. Harissa Seasoning is a quick, fiery-hot, easy solution for highly-complex flavors, but no need to stop there. Lately I’ve been trying Jamaican Jerk Spice Blend to bring an island vibe to this freshwater favorite. Give your catfish a rub with these or any of our other seafood-friendly blends, then throw it on the grill, and pair it with an ear of fresh, buttered corn and an ice cold hoppy IPA. Mark Twain would be jealous.
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Quick Broiled Catfish
From the Grocer:
2 Tbs. cornmeal
4 catfish fillets (about 1 ½ lb.)
2 Tbs. freshly chopped parsley, as garnish
4 Fresh lemon wedges, as garnish
ADJUST top rack so that distance from fish to heat is 2½-3 inches.
PREHEAT broiler 5-7 minutes.
SPRAY a broiler pan or baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray, set aside.
COMBINE Harissa Seasoning or Jamaican Jerk Spice Blend and cornmeal in a shallow pan, and stir together.
BRUSH both sides of catfish fillets with Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, using a basting brush.
DREDGE and coat both sides of fillets in cornmeal spice mixture, shaking off any excess.
PLACE coated fillets on prepared broiler pan or baking sheet.
BROIL 4-5 minutes, or until catfish is cooked to desired degree, turning halfway through
SERVE with a sprinkling of parsley and wedges of lemon.
Yield: 4 servings
Total Time: 10 minutes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 5 minutes