Sunday, April 02, 2006

Pan Fried Cornmeal-Crusted Cajun Catfish

Last year, I got sick and tired of eating salmon. I ate it broiled, baked, and got fed up. A friend was once again perusing his Eating for IBS: 175 Delicious, Nutritious, Low-Fat, Low-Residue Recipes to Stabilize the Touchiest Tummy, and came across this recipe. It only has 3 ingredients and is so tasty.

I love fish dishes because it is easy to prepare and cooks so quickly that you can have a nice meal in no time at all.

The first couple of times that I made this, the fish tasted great but I could not for the life of me get it to be crispy on the outside but at Thanksgiving 2005, I broke through and will share those tips with you.

Since I hadn't made the dish since Thanksgiving and I had the craving, I made it last night for dinner.

Makes 4 servings
Cooking time: 30 minutes (including a steamed veggie)

-1.5 lb. catfish fillets
-1/3 cup cornmeal
-2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning (or substitute Old Bay seasoning), or to taste

My modifications
-1 lb. catfish fillets (serves 3)

Combine Cajun seasoning and cornmeal in a large pie plate. Coat the fish on all sides with the cornmeal mixture, being sure to shake of the excess. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat, spray pan with cooking oil, and cook catfish until golden brown and crispy on both sides and cooked through.

My suggestions
-I do not have a large non-stick skillet. I have a medium sized skillet so I cut the fish in half. As fish is such, one half tends to be thick and the other half (the tail part) tends to be thinner so cooking times will vary. And even if I did have a large skillet, I would still cut the fish in half because the cooking time will vary because the fish is not uniform and you don't want to overcook your fish.
-Place 1 tsp olive oil (for each half) on the skillet and with a spatula, spread it across the pan.
-Make sure pan is hot and oil is heated before placing fish on pan.
-Place fish flat side down first and leave on for 5-6 minutes (for thick piece) and 4 minutes (for thin piece).
-Flip fish over and cook for another 4-5 minutes for (thick piece) and 2 minutes (for thin piece).

I personally like the fish to be blackened as opposed to golden brown because that's when the outside gets really nice a crispy. It looks black and burned but the taste is not affected! Don't worry if you do burn it a bit because even then the fish will not be affected, only the crispy outer part will taste a bit burned.

When I first made this dish, I could not get it to be crispy and that was because I was the impatient and slightly anxious cook. I would continuously poke, prod, and try to see what was going on the side that was against the pan, which would invariably prevent any sort of crispy-ness from occurring. Leave the fish alone and you will have perfect results.

Because it was Saturday and I had time, I served the fish with mashed potatoes and green beans tossed with olive oil, lemon juice, and oregano. If I were working, I would skip the mashed potatoes and serve it with your favorite steamed veggie. Here's a meal that can be made in 30 minutes or less, especially if you have a large non-stick pan!

Eat and enjoy!

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