Thursday, June 16, 2011

Book Forty: Seafood

by Williams-Sonoma

           Cajun-Spiced Catfish on Wilted Greens

I had not planned on blogging this evening. I was just going to run to the store and pick up some fish and goods for a salad. However I wanted something other than my "go to fish" of salmon. So to the bookshelf I went and found the following recipe.

I have heard that catfish is not the greatest so I opted for red snapper, which my fish market did not have so I came home with rock cod that was recommended by the young man behind the counter. He said it is the same thing...

This was quick and easy - great for a weeknight meal. The Cajun rub was not as spicy as I would like and I never thought paprika does much for a dish other than adding color. I would make this again, only using store bought Cajun spice or tweaking this one a bit.

Success meter (1-3): 2

Cajun-Spiced Catfish on Wilted Greens
Adapted from the book Seafood by Williams-Sonoma
Serves 4

For the Cajun spice rub:
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
½ tsp cayenne pepper
1 Tbl sweet Hungarian paprika
1 tsp fennel seeds, toasted and ground
1 tsp dried thyme, crumbled

4 Catfish fillets, 6-8 oz each

5 Tbl extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for coating the pan
1 strip apple wood –smoked bacon, finely diced
8 handfuls baby spinach leaves, arugula, or watercress, or a mixture
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbl red wine vinegar
½-1 Tbl fresh lemon juice
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the spice rub, in a small bowl, combine the salt, black pepper, cayenne, paprika, fennel seeds, and thyme.

Place the catfish fillets in a glass or ceramic dish just large enough to hold them and coat them on both sides with olive oil. Spread a scant teaspoonful of the Cajun spice rub on each side of each fillet, coating the fillets evenly. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Coat a large, heavy, ovenproof frying pan with olive oil and heat over medium-high heat until the oil shimmers. Add the catfish and cook until opaque throughout, about 2 minutes on each side. Transfer the pan to a low (200°) oven to keep the fish warm. (I turned off the oven after placing the fish in the oven.)

In a separate heavy, nonreactive frying pan over medium heat, cook the bacon until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain. Place the greens in a large bowl. Add the 5 Tbl olive oil to the pan with the bacon fat and heat until the surface shimmers. Add the garlic and sauté until barely golden, about 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat. Immediately add the vinegar and ½ Tbl lemon juice, stir, and pour over the greens in the bowl. Toss well to wilt the greens slightly. Season with salt and black pepper to taste and, if desired, additional lemon juice.

Quickly divide the greens among 4 warmed plates, top each with a catfish fillet, and sprinkle with one-fourth of the cooked bacon.
Serve immediately.

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