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Blackened Catfish Salad

Although frying is by far the best way to prepare catfish, the fish is so inexpensive and available that it’s hard to resist using it in other styles. I find that blackened catfish can be cooled off and then added to a salad with good effect. Blackening works best with the larger fillets that are less good for frying. This recipe comes from New Orleans Food and Spirits, which offers blackened catfish with pecans as an everyday lunch special. Great dish.

To blacken fish properly requires a very hot skillet, which will throw off a lot of smoke and perhaps even a few flames when the butter-coated fish hits the pan. Be sure to have a good exhaust fan going. Or take the whole shooting match outside, and do it on an outdoor grill.

  • 4 catfish filets, 8 oz. each
  • 1 stick melted butter
  • 1/2 cup blackened seasoning mix (see recipe on page 311)
  • 2 bags spring mix salad
  • 8-12 spears fresh asparagus, poached
  • 8 wedges tomato
  • 4 oz. crumbled feta cheese
  • 8 oz. Creole mustard vinaigrette dressing (see recipe)
  • 4 lemon wedges

1. Heat a black iron skillet over high heat until it smokes all by itself. Turn the exhaust fan on.

2. While the skillet is heating, pass the fillets through the melted butter, and shake off the excess. Then generously sprinkle the blackened seasoning on both sides of each fillet (you can even dredge it through the seasoning if you like).

3. Place the fish in the skillet and sear it for a minute or two per side, depending on thickness. (Check to make sure the fish is done by piercing the thickest part with a kitchen fork. Hold it in the center for a few seconds, then carefully touch the fork to your lips. If the fork seems even a little warm, the fish is done.)

4. Let the fish cool for a few minutes, then cut into strips or large chunks.

5. Mix the feta cheese into the dressing. Toss the greens with the dressing, then place on a salad plate. Top with the asparagus, tomatoes, and catfish. Drizzle a little more dressing and lemon juice over all.

Serves four entree salads.