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Pan-Sauteed Catfish With Cajun Crawfish Butter

Most good catfish dishes start by frying the catfish, and this one is no exception. But when good crawfish are in the market, it’s fun to add a sauce to the dish. I like this because it breaks away from the usual tartar sauce. Serve the crawfish sauce around the fish, not over it, to keep the fish crispy.

Note: this seems like a very complicated recipe, but that’s just because of the number of ingredients, most of which you already have in your pantry. Read through the procedure all the way first, and you’ll see everything fall together.

  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil for frying
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions
  • 1/4 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 Tbs. chopped garlic
  • 1 small tomato, pulp and seeds removed, diced
  • 1 link andouille or smoked sausage, sliced about 1/8 inch thick
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 8 oz. fresh Louisiana crawfish tails
  • 1 1/2 sticks butter
  • 1 tsp. salt-free Creole seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne
  • 8 four-ounce catfish fillets
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne

1. Make the sauce first. Heat one tablespoon of oil in a skillet over medium high heat until it shimmers. Add green onions, mushrooms, garlic, tomatoes, and andouille, and cook for about two minutes.

2. Add the wine and lemon juice and bring it to a boil. Then add the crawfish. Cook until the liquid is reduced by half.

3. Lower the heat to almost nothing and add the butter in big chips, a little at a time. Work the butter into the sauce by agitating the pan. Remove from heat and season to taste with Creole seasoning and salt. Remove the pan from the heat and cover.

4. Stir the salt, pepper, and cayenne into the flour. Dust the catfish fillets very lightly with the seasoned flour.

5. Mix the cornmeal with the salt, pepper, and cayenne. Beat the eggs and mix with the milk. Dip the catfish fillets into the egg wash, shake off excess, then dredge through the seasoned cornmeal.

6. Heat the oil in a heavy skillet until it shimmers. Saute the catfish until lightly brown on both sides, turning only once. (About two minutes per side). Drain on paper towels for no more than fifteen seconds.

7. Place two fillets on each plate, with the sauce between them. Warm the sauce a little if necessary.

Serves four.

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