Sounds fancy, doesn’t it?
I bought a bag of partial catfish filets/nuggets from Aldi a few weeks ago and decided it was taking up too much room in my freezer. A quick Pinterest search showed me this: Blackened Catfish from Hunter|Angler|Gardner|Cook.
I had all the ingredients, so I figured, “Why not?” (What REALLY made me want to cook it, however, was the recipe for a cajun spice. I cannot tell you HOW MANY blogs out there just said, “1/2 cup cajun blend seasoning.” To me, this is a cop-out. How do you know what is really in that spice if you haven’t made it yourself?
Honest opinion: It was merely ‘ok’ the night of. DH and I had leftovers for lunch and I made mini tacos out of the choux and catfish. THAT was 9 times better. Seriously better the next day! (I blame the delicious, delicious butter meshing with the spices. It was more of a sauce than a rub!).
Blackened Cajun Catfish with moque choux
- 4 catfish fillets, or equivalent in nuggets, filet pieces, or other fish
- 1/2 cup melted butter
- 1/2 cup Cajun seasoning (I actually had to double this. Maybe I used a tad more fish than the recipe called for?)
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon celery seed
- 2 tablespoon sweet paprika
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 small onion, chopped, about 1 cup
- 1 green pepper, chopped
- 4 cups corn kernels (I only had 2 cups and it still tasted delish!)
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
- Salt and Tabasco sauce to taste
Make the maque choux first. Heat the butter in a saute pan over medium-high heat, then add the onion. Saute the onion for 1 minute, then add the green pepper. Sprinkle salt over everything and saute for about 4-5 minutes, stirring often. Add the corn kernels and cook for another 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and cover while you make the fish. DO NOT ADD THE TOMATOES HERE. VITAL VITAL VITAL!
Get a cast-iron frying pan hot over your hottest burner (I used a large stainless steel pan. This worked great!). Turn the stove fan on high, and open the windows nearby, as this creates smoke (Hubby walked in the house at this point, and let’s say I didn’t do this. He wondered what I burnt for dinner!). Let the frying pan get hot for a good 3-4 minutes. While the pan is heating up, melt the butter and pour the Cajun spices into a shallow dish (Make sure you have plenty of the seasonings…as my house is now currently out of black pepper and chili powder!).
Dip the fish fillets in the melted butter, then dredge in the Cajun spices. Shake off any excess (There wasn’t any excess for me… again… I had to make TWICE the amount of spice!). Do this for as many fillets as will fit in the frying pan. Lay the fish down on the hot pan. It will sizzle up fiercely and smoke. This is normal. <– you bet it is! Let the fish cook this way for 2-3 minutes. Using a wide metal spatula (I only had plastic… I make it a great effort to not carry any metal in the house, lest someone decide to maim one of my favorite pans *ahemnotthatthishaseverhappened*), carefully flip the catfish fillets and cook on the other side for another 2-3 minutes.
When you flip the catfish, add the tomatoes and the Tabasco to the maque choux (the tomatoes should be maybe 1/2-way cooked by the time they get from the pan, to the plate, to your mouth. It’s the beauty of the dish!). Serve with white rice (Or in my case, oven-roasted sea salt potatoes!), the maque choux and
a good beer a generous serving of banana rum.