Friday, October 30, 2009
"Cajun" Catfish Sandwich
Catfish is a fairly light fish, but it also has a meaty quality and a fairly distinctive flavor. It's also usually pretty cheap. I really like how it interacts with whatever seasoning you use with it. It's the perfect frying fish, but it also bakes well or incorporates into soups.
The ingredients for this dish are as follows:
1 catfish fillet
1/3 loaf of beer bread
1 leaf mustard greens or Romain lettuce
3 slices Colby Jack cheese
1/2 a lemon
3 tablespoons of corn flour
1 and 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Smoky Sweet Pepper mix (important parts: tomato powder, paprika, red pepper flakes)
The first part will be to make the seasoning rub. You'll have a fair bit of the rub left over depending on the size of your fillet. You're going to want to mix the corn flour, the chili powder, the garlic powder, the black pepper, the last and the Smoky Sweet Pepper mix. The Pepper mix is really just tomato powder, paprika and red pepper flakes. It's got some other stuff in there, but those are the important parts for the flavor we're trying to achieve. The corn flour helps coat the fish and hold the moisture in and also makes sure that you don't over-season the fish.
Take the lemon and juice it onto the fish. Now rub the rub onto the fillets. Place onto a baking sheet and cook for about 25 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cut a piece of bread of similar size to the fillet off of your loaf of bread, then slice that piece open. I used beer bread which is a kind of dark, chewy, bubbly, hearty loaf. Any crusty bread can work well. Ciabatta style loaves tend to provide the right size for the sandwich.
Lay three thick slices of Colby Jack cheese on the bottom piece and pop it into the oven for about a minute and a half so the cheese gets soft. You don't want ti to get too melted though.
Once the fillets are done, place them on the cheesed piece of bread. Lay the mustard green leaf or Romaine or Red Leaf lettuce leaf on top of the fillet and spread some mayo onto the top piece of bread.
You now have a large, satisfying sandwich. I served this with a simple chili flavored corn-potato chowder and a green salad. This recipe works well as a sandwich, but it really relies simply on a well cooked and well seasoned piece of fish. If you can manage to get the fish right you can use it on its own, accompanied by rice or polenta. It's kind of like a steak sandwich: the steak carries the sandwich not the other way around. Absent the bread, cheese and greens, the fillet would be awesome, but absent the fillet, the sandwich would be pretty boring.