Catfish Pontchartrain – TCI

Catfish Pontchartrain

Recipe courtesy of U.S. Farm-Raised Catfish partner, Andres Barcelo @hollowlegkitchen.

Serving Size: 4

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What you’ll need:

  • 4 large U.S. Farm-Raised Catfish fillets (about 2 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh (dry works too) oregano leaves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more if needed
  • Sauce
  • 6 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Cajun seasoning
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • ½ green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 tablespoon Creole mustard
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 8 ounces medium shrimp, peeled, deveined and cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 4 ounces lump crabmeat
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • Lemon wedges, for serving

How to prepare:

For the fish:

Preheat oven to 175º F. Put catfish fillets on a rimmed baking sheet, and pat dry. Combine oregano, paprika, Cajun seasoning, sugar, cayenne, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Completely coat the fillets generously with spice mixture. Set aside for 10 minutes to allow rub to penetrate.

Heat vegetable oil in a large cast-iron skillet over high heat until almost smoking. Lay 2 fillets in the skillet, and cook until deep golden brown and starting to turn black, 3 to 5 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish. Flip and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes. Remove to a clean baking sheet, and place in oven to keep warm. Repeat with remaining fillets, adding more vegetable oil if necessary.

For the sauce:

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Cut remaining 4 tablespoons of butter into small pieces, and refrigerate. Add Cajun seasoning, garlic, celery, onions and bell peppers to the skillet, and cook until vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add mustard, and stir to coat. Pour in wine, and cook until almost completely absorbed, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle it with flour and cook, stirring, about 1 minute. Whisk in 1 cup of water, and then add the shrimp and crabmeat. Simmer until shrimp are pink, about 5 minutes.

Whisk in cold butter pieces, one piece at a time, whisking until each piece melts before adding another. Stir in half of the chopped parsley and lemon juice just before serving.

Ladle about ½ cup of Pontchartrain sauce into each of the 4 shallow bowls, top with a catfish fillet, sprinkle with remaining parsley and serve with lemon wedges.

Note: Resist the urge to flip the catfish too soon; allow the seasonings to blacken and burn onto the fish. Catfish is meaty, so make sure it is fully cooked through.