Catfish obtain their name from the barbels that resemble the cat-like whiskers protruding on either side of their mouths. Barbels are a tactile organ near the mouth that many fish have, housing not only the taste buds of the fish, but also sensors to find food in murky waters.
I have never tried catfish, not that I can recall anyway, but I am happy to try any fish once, especially if it is a sustainable seafood option. Here is a recipe, should you also want to try catfish.
Pan-Fried Catfish with Black Bean & Corn Salsa
Black Bean and Corn Salsa
- 1 cup corn kernels, canned or frozen
- ½ cup cooked black beans
- 1 small red onion, finely diced
- 3 cloves garlic
- ½ bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- freshly ground pepper to taste
- coarse kosher salt
- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
- ¼ medium onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 green peppers, seeded, ribs removed, and diced
- 1 ½ cups long grain rice
- 2 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
- One 19 oz (540 mL) can crushed tomatoes
- ¼ cup finely chopped parsley
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp Cajun seasoning
- 1 tsp salt (or to taste)
- 1 tsp pepper (or to taste)
- Four 6 oz (175g) U.S. farmed catfish fillets
- ¼ cup butter
- 1 lemon, cut into wedges, for garnish.
Black Bean Salsa – Make this ahead of time. Rinse the corn and black beans in a colander. Transfer them to a mixing bowl, add the remaining ingredients, and mix well. Refrigerate for a least one hour.
Spanish Rice – Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and pepper. Saute for 2 minutes until softened. Add the rice and stir for about 5 minutes, or until the rice becomes a golden brown colour.
Slowly add the chicken stock and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover, and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring once or twice, until the rice is cooked. Fluff the rice with a fork. Gently fold in parsley and season to taste.
Catfish – While the rice is cooking, mix the flour with the Cajun seasoning and half of both the salt and pepper. Lightly dust both sides of the fillets with the flour mixture. Melt the bitter in a large cast iron frying pan over medium heat. Season the catfish with a pinch of salt and pepper and place the fillets into the pan. Cook until golden brown, about 3 min, per side.
TO SERVE – Place a mound of spanish rice in the middle of each plate. Lay a catfish fillet over the rice. Spoon the black bean and corn salsa over the fish, and serve with lemon wedges.
Credit: Chef Joseph Thomas’ recipe from The Oceanwise Cookbook