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  • Writer's pictureTommy Centola

Getting Creative with Catfish

Updated: Oct 29, 2019

When I first arrived in Searcy, one of the first places my sister-in-law took us to eat was an all you can eat Catfish Buffett. Catfish was not as popular in New Orleans as it is here in Arkansas. Over the years, I have found that catfish is a versatile fish. It is mostly found fried in Arkansas. There are different ways, other than frying, to cook catfish. Today I am sharing with you a way to cook catfish on the stovetop and in the oven. I have also included a couple of sauces to top fried catfish with.

I have always said that Jambalaya can be made with any protein. One day, I had some catfish that I wanted to cook without frying or baking. Looking around the kitchen, I saw rice. The first attempt was good, so I knew I was on the right track. After a few more attempts, here is the best result.

Catfish Jambalaya

4 medium Onions, chopped 2 cloves Garlic, minced 1/2 Green Bell Pepper, chopped 1 stalk Celery, chopped 2 sticks Butter or Margarine 1 (10 ounce) can Chopped Tomatoes 4 ounces Fresh Mushrooms Salt and Pepper to taste 8 ounces Catfish Fillets 2 cups cooked White Rice 2 tablespoons Green Onions, chopped

Place all ingredients except the catfish, rice and green onions into a large saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture starts to turn a light brown. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then add the fish and cook 15 to 20 minutes longer. Stir in the rice and green onions and serve.

Stuffed Trout is a dish that is often found in New Orleans. Since Speckled Trout is not easily found in Arkansas, I thought I would use catfish. The results were delicious. There is no need for me to bring trout back from New Orleans when catfish is readily available here.

Stuffed Catfish

Stuffing 1 pound Claw Crabmeat, picked thru for shells 1 stick Butter 1/2 cup Onion, minced 1/2 cup Celery, minced 1//4 cup Green Onions, thinly sliced 1/4 cup Fresh Parsley, chopped 1 1/2 cups Seasoned Bread Crumbs 1/2 teaspoon Creole Seasoning

Melt butter in a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Add the vegetables and parsley and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Add crabmeat and remove from heat. Add breadcrumbs and Creole Seasoning and mix well. Set aside.

4 Catfish Fillets Lemon Zest 1 cup Seafood Stock

Preheat oven to 325℉.

Take a 4 ounce ball of stuffing and wrap a fillet around it. Sprinkle a pinch of lemon zest over each fish. Add 1/4 cup of seafood stock to the stuffed fish and wrap it in aluminum foil. Bake for 30 minutes. You can top this with any sauce you like.

Here are a couple of sauces that are perfect toppings for fried or stuffed catfish. The Cream of Crawfish can also be made with shrimp.

Cream of Crawfish Sauce 1/2 cup Crawfish Tails, slightly chopped 2 tablespoons Creole Seasoning 2/3 cup Onion, minced 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce 2 cups Heavy Cream 2 tablespoons Butter, cut into pieces

Coat crawfish with Creole Seasoning. In a medium sauté pan, add the crawfish, onions and Worcestershire sauce. Over medium heat, sauté for 2 minutes. Add heavy cream and reduce for 10 minutes. Add butter and stir until butter is melted and incorporated. Serve over fried catfish.

Pecan Meuniére Sauce

2 sticks Butter 2 tablespoons Lemon Juice 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce 1/3 cup Pecans, chopped

In a small saucepan over low heat, melt butter until it stops bubbling and the milk solids at the bottom of the pan begin to brown. Carefully add the lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce; the butter will foam. Cook until the foam subsides. Add pecans and serve over fried catfish.

Don’t hesitate to cook catfish other than frying. It is a great tasting fish however you cook it.

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