Herbsaint Restaurant and Bar, Cochon, Cochon Butcher, Calcasieu, Pêche Seafood Grill, and La Boulangerie, New Orleans
This is just one of the many dishes JBF Award winner Donald Link served when he brought a taste of New Orleans to the Beard House.
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
- 1 medium tomato, finely chopped
- 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 bell pepper, finely chopped
- 1 jalapeño or serrano pepper, finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 1/2 cup fish stock
- 1 pound (3 to 4) catfish fillets, cut into 4-inch pieces
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 cup cornmeal, preferably white and finely ground
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or bacon fat
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- 1/4 cup chopped scallions
- Juice of one lemon
- 5 basil leaves, coarsely torn
- 2 cups cooked white rice
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the celery, tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, jalapeños, garlic, salt, thyme, white pepper, black pepper, and paprika. Sauté, stirring frequently, until vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Add the white wine, bring to a boil, and simmer until the liquid has almost completely evaporated, 7 to 10 minutes. Add the stock and simmer 10 minutes more. Remove skillet from the heat and cover to keep warm.
Season the catfish with salt and pepper. On a plate or in a pie tin, whisk together the flour and cornmeal. Dredge the filets in the flour and cornmeal mix, shaking to remove excess. Heat the oil or bacon fat in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté the fish for 3 minutes on the rounder, fuller side, then flip the fish and add the reserved sauce. Simmer for 5 to 8 minutes, until the fish is just cooked through. Stir in the parsley, scallions, lemon juice, and basil.
To serve, gently remove the catfish with a spatula and set over the cooked rice. Spoon a generous amount of sauce over the catfish.